To Squeeze a Peach

A new box of peaches at the Blossom Bluff stand is a thing to behold, because they are packed with care. Blossom Bluff gives peaches dignity. Each peach is set, shoulders down, their little peaks seeming to look toward the same place, blushing. They are as perfect as a work of art.

I cringed at my first Saturday market, working at the Blossom Bluff stand,  when customers would squeeze the peaches, like baseballs they were about to pitch. As if they couldn’t feel their softness by the way it felt in their hands.

Overripeness is a condition in which the peach (or apricot) is about to melt apart, burst the bounds of its skin and overflow. You can almost feel your fingers making indentations in it. The weight of the peach presses on you, not you on it.

Unripeness means a certain resoluteness in its retaining of its shape. It is colder in its approach to your hand.

A ripe peach gives. It speaks to the skin of your palm. There is an exchange, between your test and its give, without you having to squeeze.

Squeezing a peach is a test all peaches will fail. Who cares if it fails the test, and all your fingers have left its mark irrevocably? The day warms, the squeezed peach ripens, and the bruises appear. Later, when the market is over, I’ll take it home for free, unsellable, and eat what’s left behind, what’s still good.

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