Organic Food & Artificial Love
by Stefi Sparer
It was Jason's idea to go to Whole Foods yesterday, "My favorite store!" Jason gushes over organic turnips and beets. "Don't you love it? I just love it!" he's practically ready to burst as he skips through the produce aisles with his pre-sanitized green basket, not able to hide his uncontaminated and pesticide free glee. "Also," he says as he tastes a grape, "This is a great place to pick up guys!" he nods over to a boy checking out peaches who makes Elton John look straight.
"He's not your type," I say and steer him away towards the trail mix. "Now, look masculine and give me your purse," I plead. He begrudgingly hands over his bag: the brown and green patched one made from O'natural organic materials.
Jason is good to hang out with because he fits my basic Gay Friend criteria; he laughs at my jokes. Always. And, if I hold his purse, he can pass as my attractive and well groomed boyfriend.
"Be careful, my iPod's in there," he whines, "And hey! What do you need it for anyway? You already have a purse." I shove his bag into my fake pink Chanel and motion to my left to the back of the tall, dark, handsome motherfucking asshole who broke my heart back in the 10th grade. "Oh..." Jason says softly, "Bad break-up?"
I stop to consider this.
Truth be told, there really wasn't any break-up because we never actually went out. The boy may not have known it, but in my head, we dated for an entire semester...until he asked me if my friend Jamie would consider going out with him.
"If I give you my number, do you think you could give it to Jamie and have her call me?" he had asked. I stood flabbergasted outside of our science classroom, but didn't show it.
"Oh. Yeah. Sure!" I say, in a faux happy tone, just like Katie Holmes did when Tom Cruise asked her to marry him.
Inside, I wonder to myself; did that 45 minute talk at lunch time about the lyrics to Mandy Moore's I Wanna Be With You mean NOTHING to him?
"Thanks," he says, "'Cos she's so fucking hot. That'd be so awesome." Then, before he turns away he quickly adds, "Oh, and are you still gonna do the Chem homework and e-mail it like you said you would 'cos if Jamie calls me this afternoon, I'm gonna ask her to the movies tonight or something."
I nod yes and give a smile, "Yeah."
Jason tugs at my sweater, snapping me back to Whole Foods, "How can you tell if a mango is OK?"
"Um," I falter.
"C'mon, you watch Food Network religiously!" he shoves the mango into my face and I grasp it before he smacks me in the nose.
"I think a mango is just like a peach," I offer as my former high school almost sweetheart waltzes by holding a bag of natural white flour gluten free tortilla chips and I grow far more animated while the volume of my voice rises. I am practically juggling the mangos and shouting my instructions, "Just smell it. If it smells like a good mango, then it is!" Jason snatches the mangos from my hand and hold them one by one to his nose.
"You don't have to shout," he says smuggly, "I'm not fucking Marlee Matlin."
I'm not even sure Jason said the line about Marlee Matlin or if I made that up in my head. He may not have even noticed I was shouting, but all I heard was the sound of my blood pressure rising in my ears, and I had to speak over it. As Jason secures the mangos in their biodegradable plastic bags, I casually turn to get a look at the kid I knew in high school.
But it wasn't him.