There he sits, nonchalantly reclining against the wall of the cell. The crescent form of the last banana in the bunch displays nature’s perfection – either that or he’s a sign of a creator with a sense of humor. I ate his brothers days ago, reveling in the satisfying sound of the soft crack their skins made as they split under the pressure from my grime-encrusted fingers. It’s as if I have control over life. I’m no longer in control of my existence – such is the nature of my captivity - , but with the systematic death of a banana, I become God. And now, he knows I’ve come for him.
No longer the youth he had been when he was brought to me, the scent of his age hits me in waves; a sweet and almost sickly smell that transports the mind to warmer lands languishing under a burnished sun. The once spotless yellow skin is beginning to darken to a duller ochre, and is mottled with brown speckles. No matter; it is the surprise I know lays within that I wish to savor.
If only I had more self-will to prolong the enjoyment of his sweet taste. I am ravenous beyond description, and the fact that I managed to refrain from eating him until now is a miracle. I can only hope my next mean is brought soon; my strength is leaving me, and a single banana, no matter how delicious, will not last me long.
I pick him up. His skin, still rubbery, is soft and flexible, and my fingers sink in a little, as if he were made of dough. With a yank of his stalk, I begin to remove his only defense, peeling the skin downwards and letting it fall it the floor. He makes no sign of protest.
The fruit is ripe – overripe, many would say – but I am in no position to be picky. I know that his flavor will have deepened over time, and my mouth waters in anticipation of the taste explosion it is about to experience. Despite my hunger, I pause for a moment, and give my thanks to God for this precious morsel. I can barely stammer out the end of my prayer – the banana’s smell is so strong it causes my stomach to pang with desperation and protest, and a yearning swirls my thoughts together until they become nothing more than a primal urge for banana.
In sink my teeth, ripping a chunk away. I barely chew; the mouthful is gone with a gulp, but the taste remains. A taste so powerful that I become choked with emotion, reminded that there is more to life than these four stark walls that imprison me. My throat constricts with sadness, making it harder to swallow the second bite, but down it goes too, caking my throat with a film of chalky starch.
Five bites are all he lasts me for, and then he is gone, with little evidence that he once existed. His skin, strewn across the floor, is reminiscent of the way an exhausted person pulls off their clothes and leaves them in a heap as they collapse into bed. I grab a piece of the skin. It’s as supple as calf’s leather and lies limp in my hand. Still hungry, I begin to scrape off as much of the starchy pith as I can, scoring across the skin with my nail and letting the mush build up beneath it. The taste is different to that of the fruit; much more bitter, with none of the enjoyment. I repeat the process with each strip of skin, and toss the remains into the corner, where they will probably fester for months.
I lean my head against the wall of the cell, a small smile tugging at my mouth. That’s it, no more bananas. No more anything, it suddenly occurs to me. My smile fades, and for the second time today, grief washes over me. That banana had been all I had. And now, he is gone.