I have unfortunately come to realize in the past couple of days that I am no better than Mark Zuckerberg.
I, too, eat my best friends for breakfast.
I never meant to make my tomatoes my best friends. “Firm separation between garden life and love life,” I said. “Nothing good ever comes out of mixing personal and garden relationships.” Little did I know how this mantra would get blasted out of the water as soon as I caught my first glimpse of greenery poking out of the dirt.
In the beginning, all I wanted was a strong, healthy garden. The Garden Guru says to talk to your plants. So I talked to my plants. First I started with the radishes, then later I moved on to my tomato plants. Remember these guys?
Unfortunately, what often starts out as innocent conversation, eventually turns into maybe getting a beer together after work, and then eventually it becomes late night chats, and then all of a sudden you’re fantasizing about whether or not Cherry the cherry tomato plant would be a good spooner, or if Sherry the Beefsteak tomato plant might provide a little more cushion. And then finally…you start baring the deepest, darkest parts of your soul.
Here’s how it happened for me: As soon as I saw that healthy little green sucker come shooting out of the dirt, all of the firm barriers I’d thrown up between garden/personal life immediately came melting down. I spent hours sitting in front of my tomato plants. At first we just idly chatted. Harry was jealous of Sherry’s top leaves. Sherry was jealous that Cherry got to sit closest to the window. Cherry thought I spent too much time chit chattering with Harry. But as we ran out of trivial things to discuss, I began digging into deeper fears. I wondered aloud about whether or not i was really getting osteoporosis at the tender age of 26. I asked them if they really and truly thought that they’d help me get blog-famous (they said yes! stupid sycophants). They confirmed that yes, that shirt really did make my boobs look too big but no, I really shouldn’t get a breast reduction. (Harry helpfully added that all of my jeans made my butt look too flat, and I huffily replied that those weren’t my jeans, it was just my butt, and then we endured the first awkward silence of our hitherto honeymoon relationship).
Why, you may ask, Why did Evan not put a stop to this madness? Surely he must have known of the deep and abiding emotional attachment you were forming with these mere plants? These…these…these homewrecking, tomato producing, invaders!
Evan knew nothing. I put my cell phone on silent and held it up to my ear, pretending to talk to my mom, or to Clare, or to Elena, but really just talking to my tomato plants. It was quite deceptive. <avoided forced trip to mental hospital><pats self on back>
Eventually my besties started growing. Then, they grew big enough for their very first perma-week of sunlight!
Now, if i wanted to talk to them, I had to walk the ten yards out to the yard. Despite this significant obstacle, I went outside every day. Cherry, Sherry, and Harry would pop their little leaf-heads up at my approach, struggling to look a little taller and fluff their leaves out a bit. Sometimes, I’d go out with a measuring stick and I’d mark their names down on the ruler, with their age and date. Soon, they were all competing with each other for my attention. I organized photo-synthesizing contests, water drinking contests, anti-leaf mold contests. Harry Cherry and Sherry all struggled to do so well. My love for them grew in leaps and bounds. I even bought a best-friend heart necklace, broken into several different pieces, and each of them wears a piece of my heart around their leaf-neck.
We were in love.
The thought that someday I’d have to eat their babies crossed my mind every once in a while, but I just pushed that thought to the back of my mind. “They’re young,” I thought. “The day they bear fruit won’t happen for a while. I can enjoy their childhood and love them while it lasts.”
Oh, how terribly, terribly wrong I was.
It happened two days ago.
I came home from work. I popped out of my car, and Harry Cherry and Sherry all immediately started waggling their leaves at me, eager for me to come over and show me the cool new things that they’d done. At first, I just oohed and aahhed.
Those big green tomatoes were far too ripe for me to do anything about them. But then Sherry mentioned an itch she was having in one of her branch crotches, and as I leaned over to get to that hard-to-reach spot, a flash of red caught my eye and I glanced upwards.
Stars fell from the sky. Victory music blasted from the radio of a car driving by. A starving orphan in Africa was adopted by Angelina Jolie. They cured cancer. Rupert Murdoch was never born.
My tomatoes were edible.
All thoughts of how Cherry Sherry and Harry felt about my eating their babies fled from my mind. Shakily, and without permission, I reached out one hand and plucked that ripe little sucker right off of the vine and crunched down with my omnivorous molars, releasing the magic of sun, dirt, water, seeds and time into my body. Such joy, such a taste of Heaven, has never been experienced.
Jesus himself exploded in my mouth.
But wait…isn’t that the only time that cannibalism is acceptable? Is when you eat Jesus? That’s what I was
brainwashed taught every Wednesday at CCD classes growing up, and thats what I’m reminded of every time I go home to visit my parents and am subjected to Catholic Radio Theology blasting through the house beginning at the ungodly hour of 7 am. On Saturdays. And Sundays.
Therefore, since Harry Cherry and Sherry were giving birth to little baby Jesuses, then it was totally okay to eat them! IN FACT. Every time I eat a little baby Jesus, I am forgiven all of my sins. Especially when I follow this up with the washing of someone else’s foot. Feet. whatever.
I’M TOTALLY GOIN’ TO HEAVEN, Y’ALL!
with my plants!