Sketches in ink – 3
We had a picnic on a beach in Caloundra today, which involved making our own sandwiches with fresh wholewheat bread and a variety of foodstuffs all neatly packed in plastic containers.
It was a cloudy day and at some point we were swimming in warm, pleasant sea in the rain. My sister, my niece and I rather enjoyed the sensation of floating on our backs with our eyes closed and mouths wide open to catch the raindrops.
On the way home to a place called Birkdale, near another place called Cleveland (although not in the USA, but Queensland, Australia), we saw a long series of posters spaced about 100 metres apart nailed to trees along the highway, They were advertising fresh fruit for sale. The first to catch our eyes was one boasting “sexy lychees”. All the other signs were pretty normal, except one which said, “We ♥ fruit and we ♥ you” and another which proclaimed, “We are passionate about fruit”, which my brother-in-law changed to, “We are passionate about granadillas” – which is what those who hail from southern Africa call passion fruit. The best I could come up with was “granitic about granadillas”, which suggestion sunk like a stone.
In our eagerness to see what other gems the fruit sellers located at the next service centre – or servo in the local Aussie lingo – had come up with, we read each poster as we passed them, and discovered that apart from sexy lychees, they were selling giant strawberries, plump peaches, cherries without an adjective and apricots, ditto.
By the time we reached the servo, I was all but drooling for the sweet taste of lychees. The fruit was for sale in an airy but basic space, with boxes stacked according to type. A cool breeze was blowing through from the wide roller shutter door at the back of this storeroom.
My sister insisted on paying, as usual. The family had chosen sexy lychees, strawberries, cherries, and apricots. A payment was being made, I told the the young woman at the counter that the reason we were in their shop was that we had read every single poster since we had spotted the very first “sexy lychees” sign. One of the two guys also working in the shop exclaimed, “Yes!” as if he had just scored a goal, or another wicket for the opposing cricket team had just fallen.
He confirmed that the lychees were indeed sexy and asked if I had tried one. I said, “I did. I put the pip and the peel in our packet so that you could weigh them.”
By the time I had finished saying all that he had gone to the back of the store and was handing me a sample lychee, which I accepted. As he bit into a lychee he had picked up for himself to split the skin, I was doing the same.
We both dribbled sweet lychee juice on to the floor as we relished the first mouthful of the fruit’s delicious flesh.
“Aren’t they delicious?” he asked.
“Close to orgasmic”, I replied, accompanied by a gesture approximating this one (although at the time I was unaware that I had actually made the gesture):
He turned to the young woman, and said, “I am going to write exactly what she said on another poster – ‘almost orgasmic'”.
Having now finished eating my sample lychee, I corrected him, and repeated, the words “close to orgasmic”, and the gesture (again, unaware that I was talking with my hands).
The poster maker then said, “It’s not what you said, but how you said it – with the action of your hand”, and he copied my hand gesture.
I was now walking behind the counter towards the open roller shutter door at the back of the shop to rid myself of the pip and skin of the almost orgasmic lychee I had just consumed.
I joked with this guy – and his younger male assistant. I told them, “This is the sign you should make every time you have an orgasm”, and repeated the hand gesture once more.
I then walked a couple of paces outside and threw the lychee pip and skins into the profusion of green vegetation at behind the store, as if throwing a ball in from the boundary of a cricket pitch.
As I return to the customer side of the counter, the guy says, “What? Every time?”
“Absolutely!” I replied, gesturing once again, and chuckling.
They laughed too, and expressed the hope that we would all enjoy the fruit we had purchased, and the weekend, and so on.
I am not sure that I have ever eaten so many lychees in one sitting while travelling in a vehicle.
©Allison Wright, 2015