Thank you, mangoes: thank you for long summers spent with remnants of yellow stuck like plaster all around my mouth, like rusted ring-lines around a bathtub. Thanks for coating my fingers with the same sweet, sticky chrome tint that I promised my grandmother I would wash straight away, but I never obeyed because the bathroom was oh so far. Thanks for being the first streak of paint on Nani’s immaculate, white canvas of a carpet that had been laid down only two months ago. But it’s no big deal because they replaced all the carpet floors with wood three years later. Thanks for cooling me down in the sweltering summers when the box fan’s breeze was not frigid enough, so my tongue playfully immersed itself in the refreshing wake of your juicy liquid that oozed between my teeth and coated the insides of my throat. At eight year’s old, my cousin and I would be content with sitting idly in front of the box fan, transfixed by the monotonous rotation of the blades as we ingested every inch of your surface right down to the peel. Unscrupulously, we cast the bowls off to the side as we proceeded to amuse ourselves by talking into the fan to make our voices sound all echo-ey. But Nani always selflessly cleaned up our messes for us; well, I guess except for the time I stained the carpet because some messes just can’t be undone. Thank you, mangoes, for teaching me alongside Nani that what’s on the inside matters more because the first time I ever met you I defiantly shook my head in disgust. To me, you looked like what the awkward result would be if a potato and an apple had a baby. You were a weird shape; you were not quite circular or ovular, and your color was if a second grader hadn’t yet finished blending their paint stripes together. Despite my protests, Nani bribed me to try you in exchange for a lollipop, and by the time I had polished you off, I didn’t even want that lollipop. Thank you, mangoes, for becoming my comfort food and my go-to midnight snack. I’d choose you over a pizza any day. I love to bask in your sweetness, and I love your psychedelic yellows that hide beneath your obscure, outward appearance. Thank you, mangoes for providing a distraction when my cousins and I had to wait in the hospital lobby on Christmas Eve as Mom and Dad left us. “It’ll be fine,” they said. That was a lie. Thank you, mangoes for helping me reminisce the good times, the bad times, all the other times in between. But most of all, thank you, mangoes, for reminding me of her.
Sofia Bajwa is a high school student, and her work has appeared in a small amount of anthologies by students. She is an emerging writer who also claims to be a DIY guru, chocolate enthusiast, and professional Netflix binge watcher!