When I was a girl, I would watch my mother sit down with two bowls, a knife, and a grapefruit. She would score the outer rind into four pieces, and after ripping off the thick skin, and separating the whole fruit into two halves with a tearing sound reserved just for the ripping of citrus, she would set to work with her knife, slipping the tip along the inner seam of each segment, releasing perfect crescents from their jackets.
It takes some time to do it right. It takes some time and love.
At a friend's house as a child, I was once offered a selection of fruit for a snack and I happily chose a grapefruit. Imagine my puzzled expression when my friend's mother set down a bowl with a grapefruit cut half-ways across the midsection, and a spoon to scoop the fruit. Imagine the mother's puzzled expression when I explained the painstaking labor of love that I was used to experiencing when receiving the gift of a grapefruit.
Today my daughter stayed home from school. After days of headaches, and nausea that neither settled in to stay, nor left her free from distraction, I decided rest was the best thing. Rest and grapefruit.
Each vesicle is a handsome jewel that you could fit in a splendid setting. Alone, they are pale, together they intensify in color and flavor.
Removing the segment from the skin, freeing the spine, but leaving the body intact, takes practice and cooperation from the fruit. Sometimes they will not separate without tearing each other in pieces.
In the end my daughter and I ate from one bowl, using our fingers. We held translucent jewels up to the light, admiring the color, and the sweetness. "Cheers" we sang out, toasting our segments together.
When I was a girl, I would watch my mother sit down with two bowls, a knife, and a grapefruit. Today, my daughter watched me do the same.