half a grapefruit

coffee break #42 – half a grapefruit

Coffee break with Rose and Flo, daughter and stepmother. The back cover of “Who do you think you are” says that Alice Munro writes about small people with big feelings.

I searched for the meaning of the name Flo (which was new to me), just to find out that in Latin it means: the mythological Roman goddess of flowers, and she is in some way Roses’ goddess, idol, as she is her  source of frustration and fear.

In one story I was taken far from southwestern Ontario, where all stories take place, on an unexpected journey to my grandfathers house.

In this story Rose does what only few on her neighbourhood succeeded, she is accepted to high school. In health class the teacher inquires about the studenrts’ breakfast habits:

“A rough sort of segregation was maintained, voluntarily, in the classroom. Over here people claimed to have eaten toast and marmalade, bacon and eggs, Corn Flakes, even waffles and syrup. Orange juice, said a few.
Rose had stuck herself on to the back of a town row. West Hanratty was not represented, except by her. She was wanting badly to align herself with towners, against her place of origin, to attach herself to those waffle-eating coffee-drinking aloof and knowledgeable possessors of breakfast nooks.“Half a grapefruit,” she said boldly. Nobody else had thought of it.”

Its been so long since I’ve eaten half a grapefruit… my thoughts wandered…  nobody eats that for breakfast anymore, cut in half with white sugar on top.
Then I think of my grandfather. In his late years every visit would end with him, on the front staircase, handing us a bag full of very sweet grapefruits from his tree.  I realize I hadn’t eaten one since he died.

I go on reading completing a full circle by the end of the story. Again I’m reminded of my grandfather and grandmother and their constant presence in my life even after they are long gone. In the last scene Roses’ father is dying. They wait  together for his ride to the hospital, when she realizes he is not coming back:

“She understood that he would never be with her more than at the present moment.
The surprise to come was that he wouldn’t be with her less.”