My Darling Clementines

They're fleshy, they're juicy, they feel so good in our hands, better in our mouths.

They open up with the slightest of pressure: wouldn't want to squeeze too hard. Wouldn't want those sweet juices to flow too soon.

I like to peel mine, to separate each perfect, bite-sized wedges at once. But I don't devour them right away. I like to savour the moment, to give them time to breathe. I love their fragile membranes to dry, just a little, so that when I pop them in my mouth, let my teeth crack them open with a gentle pop, what lays inside is so much more succulent.

I love clementines.

I love the early days, when the boxes are first stacked in a prominent display in the grocery store's produce section. The first boxes are the best: you have to get them right away.

Because you know, the first box is the best. Clementines don't stay fresh for long. After a week or two, the miniature oranges begin to dry out. Their juices aren't as sweet.

Later, there's always one, at the bottom of the case that has already gone bad, has turned green, fuzzy, and soft. The others around it follow suit, and before you know it the whole case is spoiled.

My love for clementines is immense, but the love fades quickly. After Christmas Day, I've lost interest.

I yearn for next year.

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