Sweet, succulent freedom

The shuttle bus drove us throught the hills of Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, introducing me to this strange California terrain. The bus driver peppered the drive with information about our surroundings. These mountains were “hills”? Seriously?

What am I doing here? How do I get through the next three months alone?

I trudge to my room, meeting people but not processing names or faces. Will I even remember any of this?

It’s cold. How is it cold in June?

The dorm is nice. Do I have to use a communal shower? What time is dinner?

Is there time for a nap?

I collapse on my bed, wishing I could go to sleep.

My new roommates want to talk. 

“What tour are you on?” W.

“Where are you from?” Florida.

“You just graduated?” Yes.

When is dinner? When is bedtime?

Dinner is a blur. By lights out I’m practically comatose.

Within about a minute someone is yelling out last call for breakfast. I drag myself out of bed and head to the shower, wasting time doing makeup - this is my first day to meet Tour W after all - and head to the cafeteria.

There are people everywhere. 200? 300? I don’t know. Lots.

The food.

Oh, the bountiful food that awaits me on the counter and tables. I walk through the line, filling my plate with eggs, bacon, potatoes, toast. As I get my juice and head to the tables, I pass a tray loaded with fruit. 

I pick up some canteloupe - one of my favorites. A strawberry or two. 

What’s this? Pineapple?

It looks different. Lighter. Sweeter. Full of flavour. Fresh.

I sit down with my new friends, listening as I sample the tasty morsels I’ve amassed on my plate. 

The eggs need salt. The bacon - perfect. (When is bacon not perfect?) The potatoes. Mmmm. I miss grits.

The salty foods finished, I move to “dessert”. The canteloupe is perfectly ripe. The strawberries could be from a commercial. And then…

The pineapple. I timidly bite into it, not knowing what to expect. The flavour explodes and fills my senses. The smell as tart and sweet as the fruit in my mouth. My eyes see the remaining bites and I know I must go back for more.

I have travelled 3,000 miles to find out that I will never eat pineapple from a can again.

*****

Write about your favorite fresh fruit or vegetable. Share a memory of when you first tasted it, where it came from, when you last had it, a favorite way to prepare it, and such. As you write your piece this week, think of it as writing a scene. Be sure to engage our senses, make us feel, see, taste, hear, and smell. Pull us in with your description. If you’re new to RemembeRED or you’d like a refresher, here’s our list on the basics of memoir writing. Your word limit is 700 words.