Story 6: The Orange Tree

There is a girl in Quito who is hoping to become a tree. Growing around her Mistress’s heavy roots.

She rises at six every morning. Peels oranges into a perfect circle of skin, places them in the sharp blades of the blender. Juice.

Her words are like light sips.  She watches others gulp, sees what taste could be. She stirs the spoon round and round, crunches the knife on the board, puts the rubbish into the street, chases the dog out the kitchen, for it to come in again. She wonders: when will my future un-peel like an orange in my hand?

She gets up in the morning to plait her hair in one long straight line down her back. She visits her brother every fourteenth day through the sharp streets of southern Quito, the hour tram journey, the return in the dark. Thirst.

She watches TV programmes on a tiny hand sized TV, with beautiful people and rancheros. She falls completely in love with the idea of falling in love. Arms open, eyes shut, jumping, falling, being caught.

Her footsteps fall like leaves, as she wonders, was Mistress listening? As she creeps away to her room at the bag, she realises she is learning to walk like a tree in the dark.

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