Yes, you read that right. I quit a fruit. You are in for a real treat today. Not many people outside of my family have heat the story of why I quit eating cantaloupe. (I’m warning you, it isn’t pretty.) But lucky for you, it is also about the day I starting eating it again.
It was summer and Sara and I had just finished the third grade. We had many things to look forward to in the coming year, including having more than one fourth grade teacher and having to switch classes. But most importantly, Sara and I were traveling with our parents on our first overseas adventure to Botswana. It was the one and only time we took anti malarial drugs. That isn’t the most important part of the story, but it will play a small part in the anxieties that characterize my life later.
One night before we left, we were staying over with my mom at my grandmother Mimi’s house. I can’t remember if my dad was already in Africa or not but I don’t think he was with us. I have a few vivid memories of this particular house that my grandmother lived in. We played “brides” here with veils she had sewn to a headband for us. We walked across the street with our cousins to buy candy cigarettes. That house is the reason why I love hearing trains in the middle of the night and it is where I also had my most vivid nightmare involving a Cruella De Vil lookalike, a chicken laying eggs in a turquoise toilet, and me getting shot in the hand. Tough stuff for a kid.
It is also at this house that I stopped eating the delicious melon. I loved it so much. Sara and I stayed up late watching The Sound of Music and My Fair Lady. My grandmother had a bowl of cantaloupe that we devoured. I thought there was something a little off about it…but I loved cantaloupe. I didn’t care.
That night…probably around 3:00am, I was up, clenching my stomach. That delicious cantaloupe came back to bite me. How could I not know that it had turned bad? Every single piece I ate and then some, came right back up, and let me tell you – it did not taste as good the second time.
Once in Africa I was so concerned with getting malaria, thinking I had thrown up my pills with all of the cantaloupe, that I drove my parents crazy. How does a third grader have so much anxiety?
And that was the day I quit cantaloupe.
But today I decided to turn over a new leaf. I made the decision in the fruit section of the grocery store today that I was going to eat cantaloupe again and today is the day. I brought one home with me. I’m just trying to get up the courage to go cut it open and take my first bite. Wish me luck.