The walk up the hillside to where the guinep and june plum trees grew was a long one. They had to hike very far up to the top. Usually Junior did not mind the length of time it took them to reach the grove where the sweetest of all the fruits grew. It was always worth the trip. But today was different. He was worried and it seemed to him like they were taking an eternity to get there.
The further they went, the thicker the trees grew and their branches and crowns formed a heavy canopy overhead. Soon it was impossible for Junior to see the sky when he looked up.
About forty-five minutes later, the boys arrived at their destination. They sat down in the shade to rest for a little while and then each boy selected a tree to climb. About a half an hour later, the plastic bag each boy had brought with him was full of big, juicy, golden june plums and bunches of plump, green-skinned guineps.
Then Junior, André and Romario sat down to eat some of what they had picked. The fruits looked so tempting that they could not wait until they reached home to enjoy them. Junior even forgot that he was in a hurry to get back to his house before Mummy did.
Romario had a delighted grin on his face as he used the ratchet knife his godfather had given him for his last birthday to peel off the yellow skin of one particularly large, fat june plum. He used his tongue to lick the long juice trail that ran down his wrist and curled around to the back of his elbow.
“Mmmmmm!” he nodded his head before taking a gigantic bite out of the yellow flesh.
Junior eyed one guinep that looked like it was about to burst out of its skin longingly before cracking it with his teeth. The tangy taste of the pulpy pinkish fruit surprised his palate like it always did. He tilted his head back and turned the little round ball around and around in his mouth, savouring the taste on his tongue. “Oooooh! This one sweeeeet nuh bongo-natty!” he mumbled, after tucking it safely into one corner of his mouth.
Everybody knew that if you talked with a guinep in your mouth, the slimy little fruit could slide down your throat and choke you. But, when he was little, Junior used to see Mummy and Daddy doing that and so he had practiced how to do it too. Now, he could without even thinking about it. He was really turning big man now!
They ate and ate until their little ten-year old bellies were full. But, of course, as soon as the hunger was satisfied, the need to sleep took hold of them. So they stretched out at the foot of one very large mango tree and soon all three were dead to the world!
Copyright © September 2011 by Mandisa M. Parnell