Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Vanilla bean

One suffocating season Pedro was blessed with vanilla vines growing up his house, their fragrant flowers tunneling through the smallest holes. Mornings he would enter his kitchen, find new ripened vanilla beans bursting through the wall, the green cream orchids providing small touches of decor. The smell so strong his eyes would lift, his stomach sink in hunger, his life liberated.

At first he sold them at the local market, made good money. Too many times he came, though—the buyer asked him where was he getting them, was he stealing them. He stopped going, instead keeping them for himself, using the beans for coffee flavoring, cakes, and milk. His friend Raul looked at the vines scaling heavenward, said, soon, it’ll consume your house.

Perhaps it was his body’s vanilla scent or his newfound everyday euphoria that restored his once dead romantic life. Passionate kisses unseen in his kitchen for years, though he wondered if his dates were eying his vanilla beans, agents provocateur looking to dissemble his aromatic empire. Strange men lurked outside—suspicious husbands, robbers, or just his imagination?

One morning there were no new pods, no scent. The front door, sealed by thick vines, wouldn’t budge. Through the window he saw long Rapunzel-like vines soaring up, over the roof.

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