The story of the pictured avocado begins with me in the house on a Tuesday evening. I am knackered from working the entire afternoon, but relieved and happy as the work is done.
Now if this was another day, I’d probably have to cook or find other eating arrangements. But not this evening because in my little bachelor fridge, I have leftovers, albeit, not enough stew.
I decide an avocado would be the perfect addition to my meagre dinner. So I put on a jacket and head out into the jungle to look for an avocado. It’s not really a guarantee that I’ll get some as it’s not avocado SZN. In fact, I go to three mama mbogas before I finally get my avo.
I get to the kibanda and say, Nataka avo. The seller says, Ingia huko ndani utapata. So I ingia. There’s another seller inside, the Avocado Chief, and I tell him, Nataka avo. He turns around, goes into a corner where there’s a white gunia and pulls out the ugliest, largest avocado you’ve ever seen.
First, I think, why are these avocados being hidden like contraband? Then I think, this is one large avocado, perhaps even larger than Baby Ivan’s head. (my neighbour’s three-year-old son).
I also think, this avocado is too deformed, too black and too soft, no way it’s a good avocado. So I ask the dealer, Kuna ingine? He says no and adds reassuringly, Hio iko sawa, like he’d read my mind. I want to squint at him questioningly and ask him to open the Gunia I see for myself, but I take his word for it.
I pay and leave.
On the walk back home, I’m feeling sad because I don’t like the avo. And the truth is that there aren’t many painfully disappointing moments in life than cutting an avocado and finding that it’s smelly and full of dark patches. In my heart, I’ve convinced myself this is the kind of avocado I’ve just bought.
Feeding time comes and I decide to save the avocado by making guacamole rather than eating the plain pulp. I chop up the necessaries and get to the black disfigured thing I bought earlier.
The moment of truth.
I cut the avocado, open it slowly to reveal its insides, and an unintended explosive cheer escapes my lips. Baby Ivan must’ve been awoken by that yell. I’m surprised, confused even, that this disaster of a fruit is PERFECT. No black patches, just a whole lot of green. It’s also one of those fatty avocado types I’ve always loved, not the watery ones.
Anyway. I make the guac, have a nice dinner, and add avocados to the list of things we shouldn’t judge by the cover, right after: books, alcohol, high-end second-hand phones being sold for cheap on the streets of Downtown Nairobi, and vaginas.
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