The Essential Essence of a Thing

I once saw a beautiful apple in the grocery store. It was so beautiful that I just had to take a closer look. Soon, I had it in my hand and proceeded to examine its perfection. I had never seen an apple quite like this before. You know how most apples have an oblong shape with rippled bumps on one end where the flower used to be and a noticeable dip in the middle of the top where the stem is? Not this one. No, this apple was perfectly round. It was not the color of other apples either. It had a pale yellow color that was so soft it was almost white. The skin felt flaky and some even crumbled in my hand as I held it. The apple must have been a newly cultivated species, perhaps the first one to be sold.  I knew immediately that I had to buy it. There was no way I was going to pass up such a perfect apple. So I proudly marched that thing to the counter and made it my own.

The trip home was full of excitement. What was I going to do with my new apple? I could not run the risk of damaging or bruising it along the way; so before I left the store, I purchased the most adorable little gift box you will ever see. I placed the apple ever so gently inside and cushioned it on every side with pastel tissue paper and flower pedals. I received a few disapproving looks as I left the store but an apple is fragile thing that must be protected from the elements.

Once at home, I carefully unwrapped my treasure. I noticed it smelled rather strange. It had a very strong and foul odor, not like any other apple would smell. I supposed it might taste the same as it smelled, but that did not matter as long as I treated it like an apple. I cut into the piece of fruit and found it had none of the physical attributes of an apple any more than it smelled like one. For one thing, the apple I had bought was striped on the inside all the way down to the core. Each stripe easily peeled away from the one next to it, leaving me with ring upon ring of fleshy fruit. The foul odor I had noticed earlier quickly overpowered the whole room, filling my nostrils and stinging my eyes. Suddenly, my eyes began to water profusely! I tried to wipe them dry with my hand but the apple juice on my fingers felt as though I mistook the bleach container for eye drops. It was so unbearable that I had to leave the room to recoup. Clearly, this strange apple had none of the properties of an apple, but that did not matter. As long as I treated it like an apple, it did not need to possess any properties of an apple in order to be one.

Once I was recovered, I returned to the kitchen expecting the apple to have turned brown from sitting out. To my delight, it had not. “This must be a very hardy apple!” I announced to myself. This was both a pleasant surprise and the cause of some confusion. I could not help but wonder how any farmer could had crafted an apple without one single apple attribute. Science sure has come a long way. I wondered what they engineered this thing to taste like.

Realizing that I still had not tasted it, I gingerly put a small piece in my mouth. To my horror, it was the most repulsive apple I had ever tasted! It was incredibly pungent and acidic. The texture was similar to the texture of a water crescent. It did not matter though. As long as I treated it like an apple and called it an apple, it did not have to taste like one in order to be one. I must admit that I had to keep repeating this fact to myself to be reassured that it was indeed an apple.

Since it is an apple, I concluded it was time to make some applesauce. Applesauce reminds me of playing at my grandma’s house when I was little. There would be nothing more delightful than using this uniquely splendid piece of fruit for such a nostalgic purpose. To enhance the nostalgia, I called my cousin, Harry, who lived nearby and invited him over to share childhood memories. He agreed to come over and in the meantime, I began the work of making applesauce.

The applesauce smelled horrible. There is no nice way of describing my house when it finished cooking. However, applesauce is applesauce regardless of what properties it does or does not possess. Surely my cousin will understand.

My cousin did not understand. When he first walked into my house, he let out a giant cough that was more like a gag. He looked at me and demanded to know why my house smelled like onions. Silly Harry! I had distinctly told him I was making applesauce, not onions. How did he forget? Why is he asking me about onions? I determine to be polite and not bring attention to Harry’s obvious mistake. He thought he was smelling onions when he should remember that I said applesauce. Gently, I explained to him that it was not onions he was smelling but rather the applesauce I had made. This only seemed to confuse him all the more. I decided that Harry did not understand because I have not informed him of the unusual properties of my apple.

I proceeded to tell my cousin everything that had taken place in my apple discovery. The more I told him, the more agitated he became. So much so, that when I offered him a bowl of fresh homemade applesauce, he flat out refused to try it! He even insisted that what I bought from the store was no apple at all! He told I had an onion and could not see how I mistook it for an apple. I do not know why it was such a big deal to him. Does he not understand that my apple was an apple with or without the properties and attributes of one? I had called it an apple. I had treated it like an apple. I even put up with the nasty odor and stinging in my eyes just to make sure it could be an apple. I was so proud of my precious apple and now no one seems to share my appreciation. I guess they just don’t like apples.


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