“Yes. But you haven’t had a cumquat today. You have to have one today if you’re going to write about it today.”
“Do I have to eat the whole thing?”
I nod and he shakes his head and does it.
Embracing the shitty first draft I bite into the cumquat. The burst of the dull, bitter rind; and the tart and then the sweet that follows. But I cheat and spit out the seeds.
“Do you like cumquats?” he asks me.
I enjoy the experience of cumquats. I enjoy sharing with others something they’ve never tried. I love to see someone’s face the first time a thought strikes them. I like to be the one to deliver a new idea like showing him the Metamorphosis and how “we’re all bugs.” And I rewatch Baraka and remember all the things that move me. I sweat on the treadmill and remember who I am in the sloughing off of what’s toxic to me. I can taste what’s good in me when I let go of what’s bad. It’s not exactly that Baraka is good. It’s that it makes me feel, it makes me think.
Do I believe life has no meaning? Do I like cumquats?
Not exactly. Because it’s not that I like cumquats. They’re an experience though. There’s something about the burst of flavor, the way it pinches the side of your jaw and how minutes later, your saliva is still sweet, an after effect of something so sour.
Not exactly, It’s the kind of answer I give my boys. And then I let them taste the world in all its nuances. “Do I have to eat the whole thing?” Yes, you do. Taste it all. I let them bite into the rind and then they tell me they hate it. They fight to not taste. But I play them punk rock music and they feel too alive to say no. They eat and drink and listen to music and we talk about racism and art and symbols and they tell me they love it and talk so much my brain shuts off.
Do I like cumquats? Maybe I do. The experience of them, the life to them, the punch of laughter and sour and bitter and then the writer sits typing, tasting the sweet after-effects of her thoughts.