Colorful Platter of Memories

~ Cody Christeson

One can not place enough importance upon the myriad benefits inherent in a properly arranged fruit platter, garnished with dainty pastries. Each to their own and in their own sphere, I like to say, but my fancy fruit platter is my little way of arranging the memories of the loves I hold dear. And it should be noted that a respectable platter should consist of no more or no less than three layers: any less is boring and any more is ostentatious.

The first layer of fresh fruit, for one should always begin a platter with only the freshest of fruit, is a tribute to my first husband. He was an astronaut and it could be said that he was the most greedy space cadet. He was a loving man, don’t get me wrong; fact is, he loved me so hard, so often, that I was regularly covered in bruises. My loving astronaut was often prone to fits of jealousy, and though I did not always approve of his frugality regarding my eyes being cast upon other young men, I understood why he hit me so. A wife’s eyes should shine on no man other than the one she calls her husband. Of course, the pain could have been eased, as other men often ease the pain from bruises they inflict upon their womenfolk, by a kindly present here or there. But, my space cadet was not only greedy with my attention, but also his money; the two things he held most dear. And, despite how hard he was on me and how little he gave outside of beatings, I was still saddened that he somehow or another managed to eat a pot roast, his favorite dish by the way, that was full of arsenic. They say astronauts eat strange things in space and I guess he just continued that habit in the space we called our own. And it is on the most starry of nights that I think of my greedy astronaut. That is why I start my fruit platter with the freshest, most green kiwis, cut into perfect little stars.

My second husband was a migrant farm worker who spent his days toiling in orange groves, or selling oranges on a small corner lot near where I was living. I was riding around with my first husband, as I often did in those days, when I first saw my dark, Mexican man-to-be. I’d ridden past the small corner probably a hundred times, but never on such a day when I had such an unquenchable thirst. And, though both my eyes were swollen nearly shut at the time, I could see that the young man’s oranges were surely the most juiciest things in all the world; I knew they were just what I needed to satisfy my mouth’s dryness. So I suggested to my husband to stop a spell and chat with the young, dark haired Mexican. My husband, of course, thought it was a bad idea, so my first meeting with my future husband was delayed and I was left thirsty. But, wouldn’t you know it, by the next week my husband had eaten the fatal pot roast I mentioned previously, and I was, once again, a single woman. Divine intervention, indeed! Within a week, my first husband had found his space underground, and my young, dark Mexican man had found his space with me. There were plenty of goings-on and oh, did we have our fun, but I assure you most of it was just viewed as so obscene and scandalous that I don’t particularly care to go into the details. I will say that it was most regrettable, and I never have quite gotten over it, when his farm truck backed right over him, cleaving him in half and with me sitting in the driver’s seat. And, like the sliced oranges I use for the second layer of my fruit platter, I’m only ever going to tell half the story about my love affair with my dark man; there really is no use pressing any further.

I met my third husband at the very bakery I purchased my second husband’s memorial cake from. The loss of my second husband left me cold and lonely, and the memorial cake was warm company just when I needed it most. The cake was a big, majestic thing, decorated daintily by the crafty fingers of my third husband-to-be, who was equally majestic. He was tall, slightly plump, sharply dressed, had tediously sculpted hair and the fingers of Michelangelo. I married him rather capriciously, like all my husbands before, and we spent the entirety of three weeks just traveling. He kept me in such a state of ecstasy; it’s a miracle I remember traveling at all. ‘Course, I probably remember all the traveling ‘cause he never stopped. Nearly as soon as we got home, he had to leave on some sort of business trip or another, and he continued to do so nearly every other week. King among men or not, warm cakes or not; I was cold and lonely at night once again. So, I got curious and started snooping through his things. Can you imagine my surprise when I found letters from other women, unsightly underwear and other things that are just too coarse to mention?! He eventually came home and found me tore-up drunk and belligerent; I started cursing him out before he could even close the front door, threw the panties I’d found at his head and called him a cheat. His eyes got teary and I could see the guilt about the other women just killing him. He knew too and pleaded with me to forgive him; to take a walk with him up the mountain we was living on. So, we walked to the top, and it was there that he got caught in a fit of loving expression and gesticulation, spinning himself right off that hill and right down the side. And it is in memory of him that I finish and frame my fruit platter with little pastries decorated to look like tiny wheels.

Never let it be said, that I don’t miss all of my husbands a great deal. I loved each one for who they were, like I love every layer of my fruit platter for the varied flavors. Though, to be absolutely honest, I have a sweet tooth for pastries the likes of which only my third husband could fulfill. He was not the most honest man, but I’ll always remember how generous he was with his talents. In fact, he taught me how to bake the very pastries I garnish my platter with. And speaking of generosity, please excuse my lack of; would you care to try one?