Wednesday, March 19, 2008

indulgences

I am frugal in my food-shopping. frugalicious, even. So you have to understand that I don't usually buy things because I want them. I buy bananas for 33 cents a pound, pick the cheapest kind of apples, don't buy berries or melons or pineapples or kiwis even if they look delicious.

But this week, I made an exception. A one-dollar splurge. At Lee Lee's, I bought a single Manila mango, even though it was about three times as expensive as the apples. (Shh... don't tell my budget!) I had vague plans of cutting it up and making a fruit salad to share that night, but never did get around to it. Never did get around to sharing.

Today, I ate that mango. I ate it all by myself, my little not-frugal slip, after my super-frugal soup and bread and water. I didn't share at all. I didn't worry about stretching it or maximizing it at all, except that I did pick off every scrap of flesh from the stone because, oh god, it was so delicious. It was mine, all mine, no matter what it cost because life's not long enough to count pennies and let mangoes sit stacked to the sky and uneaten. It was all mine, and I loved it.

Best damn mango ever. The flesh was sweet, tender, it was perfectly ripe -- smooth and soft, without that roughness on the tongue that most mangoes have. I've had my share of Mexican mangoes since we've been here -- they're popular to bring and share at lunch break -- but this was a different mango all together. None of the fiber, the bite, the stringiness -- smaller, sweeter, more perfect. It made my entire day. It just about made my year.

God. I can't even express how amazing it was for me, huddled up in my little gray cubicle holding this gleaming golden secret to my chest. William called to report that he had locked the keys in the van. "That's cool," I said. "I am having a really excellent mango right now." He said that I could take the bus to Guadalupe and unlock the van and drive to Andrew's, or drive home and they'd drive from Andrew's home, or take the bus home and they'd meet me there and drive to Guadalupe with my keys, or -- "Sure, whatever you think would be best," I said. "It's all good. Have I mentioned how amazing this mango is?"

I love mangoes. I love mangoes so, so much. The flavor, some strange child of sweet and tart that's all it's own, the tender bite of them, the softness under their skin, their lovely colors, the smell... everything. And that mango was so sublime, so damn perfect... Just thinking about it is making me happy all over again.

I like to fancy, sometimes, that it's a bit of my heritage shining through -- that little Filipino slice of me letting itself out as I revel, absolutely rejoice, in the juice dripping between my fingers and down my chin, in the smooth slice of my knife through its skin and the slight rasp as it scrapes along the stone, in the perfect little squares spreading out as I flip the skin into itself. There must be a little brown Camila inside me wiggling her fingers in the tropical humus, picking sweet ripe mangoes straight from the tree and huddling up in her little green island, holding a gleaming golden secret to her chest. It's the only explanation for this unholy passion, I like to tell myself.

I think that can't quite be true, because last time I checked, my sister didn't like mangoes... but maybe she missed that gene. I don't know. I can't express this to you. That little indulgence of mine, those twenty minutes biting off slick cubes of fruit, brought me so much joy that it just isn't fair. It just isn't fair that I got to be that happy all by myself, without sharing it with you. I'm sorry. Next time, I will try to share my mango.

However, that will be next time. Today, I am just going to say that my day was pretty much perfect. Because I had the best mango ever, and it was all mine.

1 comment:

squawk said...

Like your sister, I too must have missed the "mango gene." Despite my lacking DNA, I cannot help but smile given your mangolicious account of devouring this delectable fruit. I really think you should partake in mango munching more often. Some things in life are just worth it! Thank you for finding and linking to my frugalicious foods fodder. I too enjoy delicious frugal foods. ;)

squawkfox