Paulma: When the Avocado Falls

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Sunday, January 12, 2014


FROM the growing heaviness
of its heart,
and the slow softening
of its flesh,
the avocado knows
what is about to happen –
and yet…

One moment it is swaying
green and carefree,
sure of its hold on the branch
which has been home for so long;
then it is falling,
the world turning upside down.

Its fall foretells how
it must know the feel
of a knife against its skin,
how all must be revealed as
it is cut in half, straight
down the center,
except for its very core.
Strange, but this very seed
must be given up
along with the last bit of skin,
even as the flesh
is placed on a table,
offered during a meal,
and consumed by all present.

As it hits the ground,
it forgets which is left or right,
which is front or back,
as it rolls away from its tree,
and becomes still, stunned,
scared of this new sense of self -
it has never known itself as round,
wrapped as it had been by air
and not lying on solid ground.
At the center of its being,
lies its huge and saddened heart,
so far away from the branch
which has held it,
yet so close to the earth
from whence it had come.

It lies there, waiting.

I have been thinking of avocados and lost phones and Geri’s two little girls. Once upon an unforgotten time, I lost my cell phone. As soon as I entered my pad where I used to live, I sat on the floor, stunned and stilled by the unexpectedness of it. I sat there for I don’t know how long, going over and over the events that led to my discovery that my phone was NOT in any of the bags I was carrying.

I understood once more what these words mean: you only truly know the value of something when you lose it. All of my friend’s numbers were in that phone. I tried to tell myself that maybe it was time for my phone to serve someone else, and maybe that someone else needed it more than I did, and etc. I even had profound thoughts like: “How fitting, this loss symbolizes what I’m going through right now…” or “If I feel this way about my phone, how much more for those who have lost their homes or their family…” Of course, none of these thoughts consoled me.

Very early the next day, I looked for my friend Geri’s place, finally finding it with the help of angels: the tricyle driver and a lady who was passing by. When I saw my phone inside my friend’s car through the window, I leaned against the glass in disbelief, relief, and joy. So Geri was forced to serve me breakfast. While we ate, her two kids started to quarrel over the computer. It was chaotic for awhile, with the two little girls hanging on to mommy. But in less than an hour, they were friends again. Just like that.

I don’t know about you, but at this special time when we must say goodbye to another year and look forward to a new one, I find meaning in recalling the almost- loss of a phone (and finding it again), and searching for my friend’s home - sure of my welcome even at 6.30 am, or the act of searching itself, and meeting angels along the way, and children making up after a quarrel, and of course, avocados. Serve chilled with milk and sugar.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 12, 2014.

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