I went to the supermarket the other day and there were these oranges that didn’t look like oranges so I asked the grocer unpacking these boxes of bananas if they were oranges or if the sign was wrong they might be mangoes I told him or nectarines and he looks at me as if I called them dinosaur eggs so I asked to speak to his supervisor and he obviously defers me to his coworker-slash-friend the two of them thinking they’re pulling a fast one on me something they probably do everyday to women like me thinking we’re naïve or airheaded sexist bastards so I leave the grocery store and steal an orange or a mango or whatever it is and I’m free they don’t catch me so now I’m standing there in the parking lot with an unidentified fruit and I have no idea what to do with it so I find a guy who looks homeless I asked him if he was homeless and he told me that home is just an idea and can’t exist but he had a beard and wore flannel and smelt bad so I gave him the orange and he thanked me I don’t even think he was hungry just raised a proper boy so I asked him if he wanted to have dinner sometime I made some lame joke about not eating oranges at the dinner that eluded him I think he forgot he was holding the thing so we went on the date and ironically enough he orders something with oranges in it I forget what it was maybe it just looked like it had oranges in it and can you believe it he makes the same joke I made the day I asked him out as if I don’t remember making the joke as if I don’t recognize my own humor and eats his own meal and then asks to finish mine even though it’s clear to everyone in the restaurant that I’m still eating and he takes my side of potatoes without asking which is a huge faux pas in today’s dating world it’s a blatant manifestation of the unconscious that’s screaming eat less carbs you fat ass and he smiles as he puts the fat-babies into his mouth I hope the carbs turn into fat instantaneously and clog his arteries and gives him a heart attack but not really because I would feel obliged to try to resuscitate him y’know seeing how I asked him out if you ask someone out on a date and they have a heart attack you better try to the best of your abilities to resuscitate them otherwise you’ll be on the blacklist of dating possibilities and you’ll be single the rest of your life living off frozen dinners and sitcoms that try to be romantic and fail one and a half seasons after adding a dramatic element and then you’re left with a void in your heart because you never received closure so what do you do then you play bingo and eat frozen dinners heated by young people who have no idea what they want to do with their lives at an earlier point in the day probably around four or four-thirty and then you go to bed earlier and wake up earlier and everything happens earlier and earlier until you’re backing up into time until everything retrogrades and you’re actually aging backwards getting younger all the time and you relive your entire life from yesterday to last week to last month to last year and so on until you crawl back into your mother and spend nine more months in darkness and then split apart and fall asunder half of yourself in your mother half of yourself in your father until the energy that formed the halves of you leave their bodies and then you’re one with the universe you’re pure energy you’re pure light you’re nothing but you’re everything
Ryan Dunham is currently a doctoral candidate at Ohio University in the Media Arts and Studies’ Mass Communications program. He earned both his B.A. and M.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing from Binghamton University. His work has previously appeared in Helix Magazine, Jersey Devil Press, and Ricky’s Back Yard, and is forthcoming in The Bookends Review.