There it was. The fruit that damned a goddess and cemented her role as Queen of Hell looked innocuous in his hefty hand. He palmed the pomegranate and its reproductive innards like it was a precious prize. I wanted to grab it and shake it like a maraca, or throw it at his head, but such impulses would have made me seem even more childish and weird to him. Was this a trick? No, apparently not. He was about to gut the unappealing onion-looking fruit, guiding me through the seed removal process like Mr. Miyagi (except he wasn’t wearing kung fu clothes or ordering me to wax his car). And it was kind of hot.
He sliced the side then dipped the pomegranate in the small basin of water. Sliced then dipped until a river of scarlet fructose gushed out. Two halves of the whole fruit floated in the scarlet water, lifeless. What was left of the pomegranate were its seeds nestled in the honeycomb rind. He showed them to me. They looked like blood-soaked rubies.
He carved out a handful of the edible insides and handed them to me. His palm was streaked with that brilliant red of the fruit’s entrails, a cluster of seeds resting tame. The remaining seeds trickled into the murderous fructose-water hybrid. They looked neither toxic nor damning. The cluster in his hand glowed like a neon meteorite shot straight from Mars. A viscous handheld chunk of blood red fertility.
“Do you want to try some?” He asked.
Instead of mouthing back something sarcastic and snippy, I simply said yes.
I ate the seeds he had given to me and examined the crunchy sweet-sour taste with curiosity.
I didn’t get sucked into an underground lair, forced into bondage of forever darkness (as decreed by the rules of the Greek underworld when one eats any of the food down there), nor did the surrounding fruits and vegetables wither and rot. My contempt for the man who gave me seeds did, however, decrease exponentially. Neither the seeds, nor he were as bad as myths and gossip had made them out to be. In fact, I kind of liked them.