My mother was a daredevil. Not in the traditional sense. Not the sort that jumps down mountains or had the need for speed (though sometimes I was not sure about that one) or started fights, but the sort that would play food roulette. She would pick random fruit from trees or bushes.
I remember a number of occasions when we drove along the road and she made Georg stop because she spotted some potential snacks in the treetops. We would get out of the car and scavenge from the tree, what we could reach. I loved it but I am now not sure anymore how knowledgeable my mother actually was about plants but on some occasions, we figured it’s not a tree but you should eat from because of the taste of the fruit and other occasions we actually ended up with stomach-ache.
My mother also had fallen in love with the Spanish islands. Every year she would go and take a week off from being mother and wife.
As I was about 6 years old, she took me along with her to Mallorca and we would laze at the beach or go sight-seeing in the small quaint little villages of the island and fetch fruit from wild trees along the road.
Things have changed since then. My mother has left this earth now about 9 years ago and Hass and I are renting a little house in Spain with a little orchard. It has loads of different fruit trees and one was a bit of a mystery tree to us. The locals told us, it’s bearing a very lovely sweet orange fruit and can be harvested about now.
Curious as I am, I tried the fruit earlier before it was quite ready. It had no resemblance to any other fruit I had eaten and wasn’t particularly good.
But of course, that wasn’t fair to the fruit at all. So I tried another one yesterday again. They started falling off the tree so they must be ready now and I was astonished after my first bite.
The fruit was sweet and lovely. But that wasn’t what astonished me.
I know the taste and consistency.
Suddenly I was 6 again and my mother just had encouraged me to try a yellow, small, pear-shaped, peach sort of thing. I smelled the air that day, her perfume slightly lingering, the hot gravel under my feet, because I insisted most of the time to walk barefoot, the sun on my skin and the hot metal of a heart-shaped neckless on my chest.
I swallowed the chewed fruit and the memory was fading.
Sometimes it’s intense how well your mind remembers and how real memory can feel. Even if it’s just the briefest of moments.
My mother was alive and loved me under the Spanish sun next to a strange tree with exotic fruit.