Abigail Bradford hated cantaloupe. She didn’t like the flavor and she didn’t like the grain of the melon in her mouth. Yet, here I am in the produce section picking out a cantaloupe. She thought to herself. She looked at the beige orbs, trailed her fingertips over the textured rinds, and sighed. Looking around the produce section Abigail noticed that the pears were on sale and there were lots of nice Fuji apples. Maybe I should get those instead. But thinking of her mother Abigail knew she had to come home with a cantaloupe or not come home at all. She walked to the edge of the cantaloupe bin and let her eyes start searching the melons.
“Hello,” Abigail looked up into deep brown eyes. “ I couldn’t help noticing that you’re choosing a cantaloupe. Would you mind telling me how you know it's ripe?”
Abigail looked around the produce section. Was he really talking to her? “Excuse me?”
“I’ve never chosen a cantaloupe before. I know there’s some trick to it, can you share it with me or do I have to join your cult first?”
“Hu? Well, I mean, I really don’t belong to a cult, at least not that I’d admit to.”
“Well, how do you pick yours?”
“I, well, I don’t know. I don’t really eat Cantaloupe.”
His brow furrowed, “Then why are you buying one?”
“My mom asked me to pick one up on the way over today.” She hazarded another look up. Besides his warm brown eyes he had a great jaw line, firm.” She looked back down at the fruit and rushed on. “I was just looking for a pretty one, you know round, good even coloring...” She glanced back at his face and blushed because he hadn’t stopped looking at her. “But, well, I’m babbling. Sorry I couldn’t help you.”
“How about you help me find a pretty one, then you don’t have to be sorry about it.”
“Um....O.K. “ she said and tried to tell from his voice if he was laughing at her. She didn’t dare look him in the face again. Why, oh why, couldn’t she think of something better to say?
“How’s this one? “ He asked
Well, it’s kind of flat on one side and the color is kind of funny, see how it’s a different color than the rest of them. Never trust a fruit that is different than the majority. Really, it’s kind of ugly.”
“Well, I’ve never really looked at a cantaloupe in that way before.” He held it up and squinted at it then put it back in the bin. “So why don’t you like cantaloupe?” He asked as they picked up the fruit globes turned them over in their hands and then returned them to the bin unexamined.
“It’s just not my favorite fruit to eat. I don’t like the flavor, but I love the way it smells.”
“That’s interesting, you like the smell but not the flavor? How did that happen?”
“The smell has good memories associated with it. It always reminds me of my grandmother’s house. That’s the only reason. Really I’m unenthusiastic about melons.”
“So, is here anything else you like about cantaloupe?”
“I like the rind.”
“Most people don’t eat the rind.”
“Not to eat” She was mortified. What did he think of her? “I like the texture, the way it feels.” She needed to distract him; she was starting to sound like a fruit freak. “Look here’s a pretty one.”
She held up a smallish globe. “Let me see.” He said and she let it roll into his outstretched hands without touching his fingers. She noticed that there wasn’t a wedding band, then cursed herself for looking. He hefted it, feeling the weight and examined it for flat spots. “Well, It really is a pretty cantaloupe. Maybe I’ll have to come out of the cantaloupe closet. My name is Ethan by the way.” He said holding out his hand.
“Oh, nice to meet you, Ethan.” She shook his hand then quickly pulled back. He really had nice hands.
“And yours is...?”
“Right, Abigail, Abigail Bradford, sorry.” They stood there awkwardly for a moment. “Well, I should get going.” Abigail said backing away.
“I thought you said you needed a cantaloupe?” He asked raising his eyebrows and one side of his mouth curving up in a smile.
“Yeah...I well... gotta go.” She said again picking up the nearest melon, then turned and fled.