— Jonathan Carroll
Even when things end badly, there are radiant moments or experiences with failed loves that are permanently written into one’s history. Strawberries. Whenever they came into full season in spring, she remembered the day he brought her the strawberries. They were meeting at two and then driving out into the country. She’d had a harried morning in town. Her head was full of irrelevant stuff and tizzy when his car pulled to the curb in front of her. Reaching forward, she opened the door without thinking. She just wanted to be sitting still for the first time in hours, moving towards the country and silence, away from this. She needed a few seconds to grasp what was on the passenger’s seat. Beige and bright bursting red, it was a rectangular wooden box filled with three pounds of the fattest, ripest strawberries she had ever seen. They were so big, so red and sensuous, particularly against the mocha brown of the wood, that she was mesmerized. It took moments to return to the world around her. Only then did she look at him. He was grinning, thrilled that his surprise had been such a hit with her. “I saw them at a roadside stand and couldn’t resist. We’ll eat them on the way out to the country.” And they did.
Things turned ugly between them later, very ugly. But like some kind of lovely curse, after that day she could not see strawberries without thinking of him.