Jules and I had finished school for the day and were walking home when Simon rode by on his bike.
We didn’t see Simon often; he was a student at the university, not at the art college that we went to. He was handsome and charming and had a really nice apartment, with real furniture, not far from all our favorite hangouts.
He stopped to chat and we decided to hang out for a bit, sitting down on a dry spot beside the river. We talked about our plans for the evening and I did my best to be flirty. Jules was unusually quiet.
He took a brown paper bag out of his backpack and pulled a fruit out of it I had never seen before. He cut a chunk off with his pocketknife and offered it to Jules.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“It’s a mango,” he said, looking surprised. “Haven’t you tasted a mango before?”
“Well,” I said, trying to think of something witty. “No. I grew up on the Prairies, not in the tropics.”
He laughed, and handed me a piece.
I stuck the piece in my mouth and pulled the fruit off the skin with my teeth like Jules did. “Ew, it takes like soap!” I screeched as I spit it out.
He laughed again, “Whatever. More for us.” And he gave Jules another piece, this time putting it her mouth himself.
All of a sudden I was embarrassed for not being cool enough to have tried a mango and even more embarrassed for not being sophisticated enough to like it.
I lit a cigarette and looked the other way. I hated being with Jules when there were boys around. They always liked her more. She was prettier and sweeter and just all around more than I was. I was always the other girl, while she was THE girl.
When it was just the two of us, it was great. I’d bask in her attention and she would laugh at my wise cracks. We’d talk about art and music and stay up late. Or we would go to the bar to drink and dance. We’d walk home arm in arm, giggling and stumbling, and get home way too late.
I sighed and looked back over at the two of them, eating that damn mango. I mumbled something about a project that I had to work on and I got up and left. I wanted them to tell me not to go, to tell me that they wanted me to stay and hang out, but they didn’t.
Walking home I wondered when I’d have a boyfriend, when I wouldn’t care about anything because I had that one special person in my life. I wanted to be in love, to have someone that I could count on, someone to take care of me.
When Jules got home that night, she came into my room and told me all about how amazing Simon was. How he kissed her and drew a picture for her. I asked her if he tasted like a mango. She scowled at me, but then she laughed.
Soon we were giggling about Mango Man, and for the moment, it was fun again.
This post was inspired by The Red Dress Club's Memoir writing prompt. This week's assignment was to "describe your favorite fruit or vegetable: the first time you tasted it, where it came from, where you were, what memories it brings." Please also check out the other responses, this is a writing club and we are looking for support and feedback.
Constructive criticism is always welcome!