The stain was deep and red, and the wood of the cutting board, having absorbed the drainage from the day, was fat and full. The room was ripe with sudden decay, and it lingered heavy in the air just south of sweetness. I took a wet cloth and tried to erase the damage. It didn’t budge beneath the lackadaisical layers of elbow grease, and the strawberries were too far gone to care about much of anything.
The fruit had been fine just hours before. It had arrived freshly bought, clutched firmly in the hands of a houseguest, and served as an important part of a nutritious breakfast. Then, about the time that the morning coffee layer began its burning off, the berries were left sitting in a plastic crate, forgotten to the moment amid the plans of promise and intention.
The benefit of our doubt was spent on the theories of bright-eyed optimists; for instance, time is long and winding, and it isn’t going anywhere. But time is full of surprises.
Like most things taken for granted the fruit did what we never expected, growing soft, gray mold in the sunlight beaming between the bites we had and those never taken.
When you stand before an open window it is large and wide, the endless everything starts in the twinkle off your cheekbone and spreads equally in all directions. However, when taken from a distance the window is nothing more than a small, framed square of wonderful opportunity. Ours is to reach it while open is an option.
The thing about windows is that they are often prone to closing.
That is where the fruit was lost, somewhere in the afternoon lull when it was over being wanted and not quite ready to be thought of again, it let time have its way. Then it bled out across the countertop, and all that ever could have been was left for anyone to wonder—the possibilities both endless and ended.
From a distance the frames fill the world like a patchwork of homemade quilts and gently swaying fields, each one a window shutting slowly on the quick turn of fruit, and the bigger moments fading.