And even if there is aliveness, there’s no guarantee you can touch it, verify the aliveness for yourself. It might be separated or sealed, deliberately out of your reach, a lush florescence within layers of reflective surfaces. Or it might be in mechanical motion, presenting itself to you again and again, faultless on all sides, nothing to get your fingernail under, no little abrasion that might let you start tearing away at the layers to get at the live, earthly object.
In September in Central America you can buy bags of water apples at the side of the road. They are a small, red, pear shaped fruit that smell and taste faintly of roses. When you bite into the white flesh of a very ripe water apple, the skin streaks it pink. The skin is thin, delicate, you can bruise it with your fingertips. You can’t put it into your bag to eat later because it becomes wet pulp amongst your wallet, keys, and phone. Perhaps this interferes with any possibility of marketing and shipping them internationally; they don’t seem to be available in places they don’t grow.
But where else do they grow? In fact, what are they? A search in English offers one Latin name, searches in Spanish and French two others. All species supposedly originate in Malaysia. In English alone they have at least six common names. An image search offers a few more, as do various food blogs and horticulture websites. These watery unmarketable fruits are invasive delicacies or just delicacies that come, in or out of season, in pale green, pink, and red. Here they are packaged individually in styrofoam and then wrapped in plastic by the half dozen, a photo in a grocery store in the Philippines. This is the right image—these layers of impenetrable transparent packaging with a fragile watery body at the center, it’s fragrance unreachable and surely changing. This fruit doesn’t last. Ripe now, it has already begun to rot inside the plastic. Soon it will deliquesce and the packaging will leak because water always finds its way through.