I love blueberries. Primo does not. (See: Primo food rules and foods ending in "erry.") You can get them fresh only a few weeks a year. I wait for blueberry season and once it arrives, I eat almost nothing but blueberries.
A few years ago, Primo and I stopped in Chicago for lunch with my friends Lenore and Rob on our way to visit Primo's high-school friend who lives in St Louis. For dessert, in addition to homemade madelines, chocolate-covered pretzels and chocolate-covered strawberries (which Primo also does not like; see "erry"), Lenore served blueberries. I tried not to be a pig about the blueberries because they are not inexpensive and it is rude to eat all of something when you are a guest – you need to share.
Primo made a big deal of saying he would try the blueberries, which he has never liked. I told him not to bother, that he would not be doing me any favors. There is only a limited supply of blueberries, I said, and I don’t want to share.
He protested that he is always trying to get me to enjoy wine so I can share the experience with him and wouldn’t blueberries be the same?
No! I said. And keep your hands off my blueberries! There aren’t enough for me!
But I did eat all the blueberries at Lenore’s.
Which was wrong.
I know that now. I am sorry I did it.
Because when we got to Primo's friend Steve's house, I paid for my transgression in a big way.
Primo and Steve took a big shopping trip to Costco, which sells blueberries by the ton. Primo bought a ton just for me. My blueberries. Mine. Mineminemine.
I was sitting at the kitchen table, snacking on my blueberries, minding my own business, not hurting anyone, when Steve's friend Trisha walked in with her baby.
I smiled, got up, and casually hid my blueberries in the fridge behind the two gallons of milk so nobody else would find them.
Trisha sat with the baby, Charlie, who was about 13 months old, and started feeding him his lunch.
Charlie looked to be a healthy eater, if you know what I mean, but he didn't want his hot dog. He didn't want his green beans. He didn't want his zwieback.
“Maybe That Woman will share some of those blueberries, Charlie!” Trisha chirped.
What was I supposed to say? “No! You may not give those blueberries to your baby!” How do you deny blueberries to someone? I don't mind slapping Primo's hand if he reaches for my fruit. His desire for blueberries is insincere and I know him well enough that I don't have to worry about impressing him any more. We weren't married at this point, but he liked me enough that I knew I could be myself.*
I smiled weakly and mumbled, “OK.” But I didn’t volunteer any information as to the blueberries’ location, hoping against hope that Trisha might forget her mission in the next 15 seconds.
Didn’t work. She opened the fridge, didn’t see them, and asked me where they were, so I had to tell her.
I still didn’t think it would be so bad. This was a kid who had eaten ¼ of a hot dog and three green beans. How many blueberries would he eat?
A lot. He’d been pacing himself. Waiting for the blues. Waiting to ruin my day.
As he scarfed them down, Trisha looked at me and asked, “Were you guys saving these for dessert or something?”
I shook my head and muttered, “No. Not at all.”
Which was a lie and the truth at the same time. We weren't saving them for dessert, but I was saving them for me, to eat all by myself without having to share them with a greedy baby.
Considering Steve and his wife had an open-fridge policy that I myself had already taken considerable advantage of, I didn’t see that I could deny this hungry kid the one food he seemed to like and could actually eat with his sore gums.
Then Steve's oldest kid, Mark, who was five, came along and saw the blueberries. Sat down and started eating them. Without even asking! Rude, rude little boy. I just watched helplessly. I sure wasn't going to say anything to him -- his parents were being very generous hosts and to deny their little boy a handful of blueberries would be mean beyond belief.
And remembered that I had eaten all the blueberries at Lenore’s.
What goes around, comes around.
* My friend Susan says you should be naked or at least in a bathing suit when you open the door for a first date so you can say, "These are my thighs. If they are going to be a problem, let me know now." My friend Anita, on the other hand, maintains you should wait until he likes you enough that he won't care.