I love supporting local farming, so when I got the latest share from my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscription box, I proudly plopped the haul on my kitchen table.
It may be September but it’s still #tomatoseason, and the juiciest, plumpest tomato rolled right in front of me as if whispering, leave your man and be with me. He is bold, heirloom, and I cannot believe he just spoke to me.
Immediately, I set him aside.
I can’t get him out of my head.
What a gorgeous, ripe tomato…and he wants to be with me?
I give him a little kiss on the way out the door on my way to work. I yell at my boyfriend not to eat any of the tomatoes. I feel guilty about my crush, but his plump little round body makes me crazy.
I spend all daydreaming about covering him in balsamic and licking his shiny skin.
When I return home, my tomato man is so cute, just sitting in a basket on my counter. I can’t help but smile bashfully and giggle when I walk into the kitchen. He’s been patiently waiting in my un-air-conditioned New York apartment. I will not refrigerate him because he loses his tomato-y-ness if I do.
Plus, he says he “likes the heat” …which is hot!
At this point, I’m feeling really conflicted. On the one hand, I like my boyfriend and we have a good relationship.
But he’s not a tomato and can never be.
I’ve already eaten the other tomatoes and now it’s just my Mario left. (He told me his name is Mario.)
I think my boyfriend suspects something. He keeps asking me, “Hey, why are you just talking to yourself in the kitchen?” and at dinner, he said, “Why do you keep looking over my shoulder at the countertop and laughing?” He’s worried I’m having a breakdown, which sucks, but at least he doesn’t know I’m in love with another (to)man(to).
On Friday, I come home early from work to have some alone time with Mario while my boyfriend is out. But when I pick Mario up out of his basket, he oozes in my hand.
He’s covered in black and blue mold. No!!
Weakly, he coughs, “Mi amore, Imma nota gonna make it. The heat-a made me e-spoil.” (Mario is Italian by the way.)
I whisper, “You could never be spoiled in my eyes.” But my hand is wet with slime.
He’s definitely rotten. I’m sobbing. This time of year is always hot, but climate change has made it one of the hottest on record.
Dammit! If only I had made up my mind sooner! I could’ve enjoyed my sweet Italian nightshade.
“Goodnight, sweet prince,” I cry, as I drop him gently into my compost bucket. I’m distraught. I shakily walk to the sink to wash the blood-red, tomato goo off my hands. My eyes go blurry, and the world goes black.
The next thing I know, I’m surrounded by firefighters and my boyfriend is there.
He tells me there was a carbon monoxide leak at our apartment all week.
That explains the tomato-related hallucinations…
In loving memory of Mario, my gas-leak sweetie.
Handsom. Italian. Uneaten.