Boren is so steep southbound traffic looks as if it’s dropping off the roofs of nearby apartment buildings, and this apple on Pine and Boren had shattered with such force it appeared to have fallen from at least that height. It was actually unclear whether it was one apple or two. Irregular chunks of apple littered the sidewalk, turning a glossy brown from what had probably been a day or two of exposure to the elements. The chunks were covered in narrow grooves that could have been carved by impact with the pavement or by a hungry rat or pigeon. The apple seemed so exposed on the bare stretch of sidewalk, cars rushing past it, it made me feel more exposed the longer I looked at it. A young couple carrying grocery bags from Whole Foods walked by and I stepped out of their way, avoiding eye contact. The apple looked as if it had been stared at since the sidewalk was paved, though the lack of mold proved it couldn’t have been there more than a couple of days. My increasing feelings of conspicuousness and my own lack of mold made me identify with the apple to such an extent that when I ate a piece of it, carved carefully out of the center of the biggest chunk, it felt like an act of cannibalism. It was warm from the sun and slightly too sweet, with a faint taste of decay. It was probably a honeycrisp apple.
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