Guava

Posted on June 16, 2019

If you were to be reincarnated as a nonhuman, what would your best option look like?

It’s 10:45 in the evening and I’ve just asked Juan, who I only meet 10 minutes ago, ‘if you were to be reincarnated as a nonhuman, what would your best option look like?'

Juan is thinking.

I like silences. They have a sound.

'He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.' ― Elbert Hubbard

Strange question to ask, shortly before bed, to a complete stranger.

We’ve just had a quick discussion about our favourite fruit. A classic, old-school question, but not an easy one either. Controversially I say papaya. It has a marmite quality to it – not the taste – the way it divides opinion. He says watermelon.

In our busy world, when a little window of time presents itself, a short story is great to have nearby for a quick escape. To share it with someone else is like adding double cream to the experience.

That’s what happening here.

I’ve just finished reading to Juan the short story ‘Guava’ by Etgar Keret.

In six hundred words it addresses life and death and peace on earth - not necessarily in that order. It’s a moving and perplexing parable-like story about a man who becomes a piece of fruit!

You’re taken on a creative journey – which makes you laugh, makes you sad, and pushes you to wonder. It’s a great example of Keret’s stories - fantastical, imaginative, absurd, surreal, playful, comic, bizarre and dark.

His stories provoke you to think in a totally different light.

Returning to the question of reincarnation.

‘Are mythical animals allowed’ he asks. ‘Why not’.

In the end Juan opts for a tree. Japanese maple.

‘Nice’, I think to myself.

‘The Moon’ I say. I’m not really sure why that came out my mouth. But it did.

Interesting how we both opted for nature. Perhaps it says something about what we crave.

Juan says he has to make a move. Early start he tells me. He works on the London Underground. Keeping us all moving.