We both had hours to kill in the ER at Bridgeport Hospital in CT. My mom was somewhere in this warren of hallways and rooms, and NOBODY was going to keep me from seeing her. The thing was, she was an inpatient for a procedure---when visiting hours were tightly regulated and silence was golden. Children were not allowed to go visit. Nurses wore white dresses and caps.
I was born in this hospital. My mom went to nursing school there, and wore those white dresses and caps. In the mists of time, I cannot recall how on earth she pulled the appropriate strings to arrange to be wheeled near the ER so her kids could catch a glimpse....but she was a powerful determined woman was my mother. I restlessly waited for my moment.
That was when I saw the girl. Eating a strange type of fruit while the juice ran out of the corners of her mouth. Turns out she was waiting to see her mom too, so two scared little girls became ER friends. I was fascinated by her ebony colored skin. The multiple barrettes that sought to hold back her hair. Alas, my hair was straight.
"It's an Indian apple. Want some? You eat the seeds." I told her that you aren't supposed to eat apple seeds because they will grow into apples in your stomach. I was all-wise. She said she never had apples grow in her stomach from it.
But the ruby juiciness of it and the matter-of-fact way she was munching into those seeds...I had to try it.
The sour and bitter exploded in my mouth at the same time. And I think she laughed when she saw me pucker. Of course I told her it was nice. My mama raised us with manners.
Then my dad motioned to us from around the corner, and we ran crying into our mother's arms. "Just for a minute" said the head nurse.
My pomegranate friend was gone when I went back to the waiting room. But I never forgot her, and how her simple "want some?" made me feel safe. I hope she got to see her mom.
I think I'll spring some pomegranate on the little kids this year at Thanksgiving. Watch 'em pucker, and tell them how I made a friend.