It was uncared for and probably long forgotten by the person who bothered to plant it. Perhaps it was planted by the dropping of a bird. Large olive green foliage hung lifeless and dry. My secret tree edged its way to the back wooden fence. Other such bland shrubbery camouflaged the red orbs that hung heavy making its very existence incognito.
Not being of the world for more than six years, it was alien to me. The leaves started at the very bottom of the trunk and I was sure it was just an old bush. Its fruit wouldn’t be known as fruit to me yet. They were just balls of curiosity and I was curious by it. I picked a ball. At first I handled it like a precious object. I felt its circumference and placed my index finger into its flowering top. I was immediately reminded of a cactus flower but its texture, weight and warmth only drove me towards further exploration.
It was warm from basking in the summer sun. It must have been there for years before anyone discovered it. It was my discovery. I claimed it. It belonged to me. I had to get inside the thing but I had no viable tool so I threw it on the cement retaining wall and it split in two. Crimson liquid squirted and red corn looking kernels burst forth. It left me wondering, does this taste like fruit punch? It looks like fruit punch. I dipped my finger into its ripped flesh, closed my eyes and tasted its elixir. Would this be the poison that would end my life? Instinct told me it was safe, to go ahead and I did.
I thought it certainly must be something the Indians used. I knew about the Indians and their natural ways. I visited the Natural History museum and watched an Indian woman grind corn into meal. Certainly this plant must be of some use to her people. Its internal structure, require it be of some use or why would it exist.
Gingerly my small fingers peeled away the leathery flesh revealing large clusters of red seeds and paper thin segments compartmentalizing those clusters. I placed my mouth over an entire section and bite down. Hot red juice trailed down the corners of my mouth and onto my t-shirt. I wiped my hand over the stain and admired its deep claret color. It tasted sweet and earthy. I was hooked. I kept my secret not even my stained clothes confessed my discovery or at least my mother never said anything about my secret tree or my discovery.