Ripe Pears for Breakfast

She had multiple plans for the weekend: go to the dry cleaner's and a baby shower, respond to some work emails, organize her desk drawers, etc.

Friday night, the fridge was humming louder than usual—it sounded like it was soon to give up on cooling her food. She hammered it with her fist a few times, opened and closed it several times while trying to avoid eye contact with the wilting celery, and then gave up. "Call fridge repair person soon" she wrote on a sticky note, which she pasted to her desk.

Saturday morning came around with a sigh of milky fog. She stretched and checked her phone: so many notifications. No time for any. She tossed the device—the irritably buzzing infant—onto the oatmeal rug by her bed. Soon she was floating into the kitchen to fetch herself the usual buttered toast with a side of canned peaches. "No," she realized. She put the slice of bread back into the bag, then lifted herself out the front door. She wore nothing but silky pajamas.

"Goodbye," she said kindly to the milkman and mailwoman as they made their way up her street. "See you in a while," she murmured to the Siamese cats that encircled the trash cans left out for collection. Those cats, their eyes bluer than ever against the gray day, they did whatever they liked whenever they pleased. For that, she felt envious.

The fog was thick to breathe, but she inhaled deeply, working through it like hands on dough. She walked, and she walked.

She didn't know how long it took her—each second was new and new again—until she made it there, to the grove. Maybe many minutes or several hours, but no matter. She was there with the pears at last. For what, she didn't know, and that was the point.

Thousands of silver trunks stretched up into a single, billowing pear canopy, massive as a mountain, dripping in ripe fruit. She lay in the emerald grass—this was the closest she'd ever come to praying—and ate it all with her eyes: jade leaves, sparkling greens, blushing reds, soft yellows. The sweetness of it all, the juice that settled in her eyes like tears. These trees were more alive than other plants—some leaves were so vibrant, they twinkled and winked. The longer she stared, the more faces she saw among the pears—little old women and men with wrinkled smiles.

Above the leaf mountain fog thickened, tightened, and solidified. When she thought of the fog, she felt that she'd get squeezed—instantaneously—into something tiny like a louse. But no, that was a thought she didn't need to think.

She fell below earth—but in slow motion, like a head into a pillow. Rich, freshly opened soil filled the air she breathed. Her legs gently elongated, and her hair swirled around her in wings. A few slow flutters, and she felt her eyes rise to the highest reaches, right there with the pears. She was expansive.

This is not my friends' life or the milkman's life or the mailwoman's life or the cats' life or my boss's life. This is not my boss's wife's life, nor is it my brother's or mother's life. These were the thoughts she thought as she breakfasted and played and prayed there with the pears.

She was alone in the grove, aside from the winking leaves and pears with their ancient faces and a snail or two that slipped by her side. Alone but not lonely, she knew. It was her life, that's what it was. When she realized this at last, she pushed herself from the soil and grass and let the foggy sky grow blue.

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