The frugivores had arrived, two backpacks each. The woman wore hers over her chest, like a refugee. “Kumquat?” she asked.
“I never kumquat after dinner,” I replied. She did not smile.
Come morning, the kitchen was awash in beet blood. A slaughter had gone on during the night, and the perpetrators were still sleeping soundly, using their backpacks as pillows. When they awoke, they played bowls, rubbing wet fingers around the circumferences, making an eerie music.
“We have given up on the world,” said my nephew, “but not the humble avocado.”
I felt suddenly embarrassed of my refrigerator full of hard cheeses and meats.
“We don’t judge,” said the woman friend, as if reading my mind. She had bright, wide-spaced eyes and extraordinary, high-arched eyebrows. She was the one who had corrected me about semantics. “Not frutarians,” she’d said, “frugivores.”
I ran upstairs with my lost soul to feast on a deadly salami sandwich. I actually sat inside the closet, on a stool, stuffing the sandwich in my mouth then washing it down with the toxic nectar of a Diet Pepsi.
I prayed the way I’d seen old Jewish men do in synagogue, davening a bit. Then I paced nervously, back and forth in the small space, amidst my shoes. Actively praying, yes, that they could not hear me in there, chewing in the dark.