• Maggie Levine

ArtWrite 8/18: Afifa Aleiby "Bunch of Grapes" 1997

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

"Grapes are too easy,” Dory said when Hank passed her the bowl.

He looked baffled. “I’m afraid I don’t follow.”

Why did she say such things? She’d been attempting to be flirtatious, or at the minimum, coy, and all she’d succeeded in doing was making him feel stupid.

“I’m sorry. I don’t understand what about grapes would be considered easy’.”

Dory couldn’t possibly launch into why she preferred fruit that had pits, cherries being the ultimate example, especially when they were cold. Not just the moment of piercing the skin and feeling the release of juice -- a grape could provide that -- but the exquisite pleasure of locating the exact spot on which to bite down to get the maximum amount of flesh, without hitting the pit with one’s teeth. He’d think she was mad. (Not to mention the pleasure she took in watching the discarded pits accumulate in a bowl, with little bits of meat clinging to them like just-pulled teeth).

“I meant -- They’re so easy to eat that it’s hard to stop. I’d love one. Thank you.”

Wanting to look feminine as she plucked one from the bowl,, Dory pretended her fingers were delicately pinching the handle of a fine china teacup. The purple skin was mottled, like the swirling white oceans in photos of the earth taken from space. But Dory kept that to herself as well and demurely bit the grape in half.

--Maggie Levine


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