Slice it. Slice it clean into a half-sphere.
An orange rim encircles a white, rubbery flesh. The flesh is stretched and bound by veins like long, white claws, like tree roots through the soil. The white veins converge and create a fibrous nucleus, a small white mass that holds the seeds in place, the life center of this spherical object. The beige, oval-shaped seed presses against the tissue-like overlay that diverges from the epicenter, held together by the thick, white ligaments.
The thin film encapsulates and separates the citrus-flavored wedges that lie within this rimmed half-sphere. It blurs the imperfect triangle-shaped factions to a faded orange, a color not half as bright as the safety orange skin. The inner flesh, underneath the film, appears foggy, lighter, the color of a hazy sunrise just as it emerges above the horizon. Small clusters of bitter juice bubble just above the papery membrane and clear the clouds from the tissue, like wiping condensation from a bathroom mirror.
The membrane is not sticky beneath the droplets. It feels like the dimpled flesh of a rubber kickball. The juice is potent, even the smallest of bubbles creating a tangy, somewhat bitter spark that enlivens the tongue’s taste buds and makes one’s lips purse.
How would you describe an orange?
-M. Ray Hall
Be the Protagonist
::bear with me, today’s musing is a long one::
Today was one of those days.
Today was a day where I felt stuck; where the things I want in life felt just out of my reach like carrots dangling on the end of an ever-moving, ever-higher string. I could have spiraled into a self-hating rant as so many of us are prone to do or I could have shut down completely, but I didn’t. Instead, I reminded myself of my mission (a list I created a few years ago and will share with you soon) and sat down to write this.
There are hundreds of articles out there about how to be effective, how to be successful, and the habits of the people who already feel those two culturally prized things. I’m not going to address any of that, not really. [Why those things are prized in our fast-paced, high-strung culture and how maybe that isn’t what should be prized is also for an entirely different conversation.] I’m merely going to write about my experience and if that helps any of you, great. (more…)
:: an excerpt written on the train between Berlin and Prague ::
And then it was over. She boarded her train, staring through the window, through me, as it pulled away from the station. I stood there. I stood there waiting for my train in the opposite direction, thumbing her flamingo lipstick from the corner crease of my mouth.
Her little dancing box of flashing neon and scant apparel closed soon after, I suppose, shutting up its past and hiding behind sagging boards and primary-colored graffiti. Its neighbors would point to it in moments of remember when and used to be before enough time passed and they too forgot its inhabitants until one day a newcomer, perhaps someone like my former self, bought that Pandora’s box for a penance and turned it into a mini-mart, a cheap purveyor of hydrogenated oils and sugar syrups dressed to kill in vibrant, come-hither packaging. Or, maybe, a young couple would furnish it into a quaint, over-priced restaurant that touted romance and intimacy in an ideal sort of mockery.
I gnawed on my bottom lip, pinching it between my teeth.
That grey-tinged box of a building would forge both more and less than those three pink months of lipstick and cherry blossoms and I wouldn’t – couldn’t – be there to see it.
-M. Ray Hall