Second Banana

Patrick wanted a banana. Bananas were his favourite fruit, by far. He had a banana a day rather than the more traditional apple. He had a bowl full of them sitting on the kitchen bench, but he had forgotten to put any in the car, when he had decided, quite on the spur of the moment, to drive down to the beach and go for a walk. He had been very restless the night before, so, now, as the sun was rising and the first rays were lighting the skies, here he was, striding along, skirting the waves as they washed up in a continuous line. With his mind preoccupied with other things, inevitably, he got caught unawares, and now his socks and runners were soaked. He stopped and looked out at the horizon. There was a tiny ship in the distance. Of course, it wasn’t tiny. It just seemed that way. And the waves appeared to be receding. They hadn’t come near where he was standing, which was where he got his runners wet. The tide was probably on its way out. He retreated, sat on the sand and pulled off his wet footwear. Should he continue his walk or not? He quite liked the feel of the sand beneath his feet. Why then had he donned his runners in the first place? He didn’t know. He stuffed his wet socks in the runners and left them on the sand. If they were gone when he got back, so be it. There weren’t that many people about as yet.

He walked down to the water’s edge and in the direction of the high rise buildings which loomed in the distance. His mind returned to what had preoccupied it earlier. Or rather, whom. It was Ingrid. When he had rung her yesterday, she had informed him she wouldn’t be seeing him this weekend as she was going to her aunt. Aunt? What aunt? It was the first he had heard of her. In answer to his query, she had tartly informed him that she hadn’t realised that he needed to know every detail of her life. He immediately apologised, as he always did. Ingrid was an extremely attractive woman. Blonde, blue-eyed, statuesque, pretty much a product of her Scandinavian forebears. He was, well, to put it kindly, average. Average height, average build, average features. At least, that was how he saw himself. He considered himself lucky that she agreed to go out with him.

It had been six months so far. He had planned to do something special for their six month anniversary, but it was not meant to be. He really craved a banana. Maybe it was just comfort food, he really didn’t know. But suddenly, he needed to go home.

He trudged back to where he had left his runners. He was mildly surprised to find they were still there. They were very expensive, he had bought them online from L A. But who would know that anyway? Barefoot, he drove back home.

Once inside, he made a beeline for the banana bowl. He sat at the dining table and slowly savoured each bite. It was immensely satisfying. He wondered if there was something wrong with him. His fondness for this fruit seemed mildly disturbing to him at times.

The rest of the day passed quietly. He read, played a few video games, and watched a movie. He didn’t have many friends. Since Ingrid, he had seen even less of them than before. He just wanted to spend time with her. He was mindful of that old Dr Hook song, ‘When you’re in love with a beautiful woman.’ He suspected that played a part in it too.

He hadn’t heard from Ingrid, but then, he hadn’t expected to, although it would have been nice. He decided, alone or not, he would cook himself a nice meal, something that would occupy his mind. Ingrid, surprisingly, at least to him, liked Indian food. So he decided to make a chicken curry. She wouldn’t be there to enjoy it, but he liked it too and he had all the ingredients. Maybe he was only tormenting himself, he thought, but he had to cook something. Soon he was immersed in the preparation, and aromatic flavours permeated the house. It was almost done, and he was about to set the table when the doorbell rang. Puzzled, he opened the door and stood aghast. It was Ingrid, and she was dressed in a banana costume, carrying a small banana-shaped suitcase. He goggled at her, then looked into her mischievous blue eyes. She smiled and said,” Did you really think I’d forget our six month anniversary?”

Overwhelmed, he pulled her into his arms or as much of her as he could reach considering the odd shape of her costume. Eventually, he let her go and said, “How on earth?”

She said. “I just told the taxi driver I was going to a costume party.”

He led her inside and shut the door.

“What is that divine smell?”

“I made a chicken curry.”

“My favourite. Even when you thought I wasn’t going to be here?”

He just nodded. She pulled him to the couch and then sat on his lap. Still overcome, he simply held her. Then she pulled back, and said, “Happy anniversary, Darling. Seeing bananas are your favourite fruit, I thought I could be your second banana. What do you think?”

He shook his head.

“Never second, ever.”

She laughed, then got up and said, “How about you take this banana into the bedroom and peel it.”

He didn’t need a second invitation.


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