By Melissa Cronin

February 9, 2015


While I eat lunch with my father today, he stares at the bunch of bananas in front of him. "They're so beautiful," he says. "They're so yellow." He smiles, then giggles. Who is this man?

Before my father's dementia started progressing a few months ago, he never noticed the details of anything beyond his checkbook or savings account. We certainly never discussed the aesthetics of fruit. But maybe the plaques in his brain are leaking a chemical that allows my father to be deeply aware of seemingly mundane things like bananas.

He takes a bite of his sandwich, then comments on the bananas again: "I can't believe how yellow they are." 

Until my father's uncharacteristic awareness, I never looked closely at the beauty of bananas: cylindrical bodies, tapered ends, and sturdy stems attached to inflorescent stalks. When I eat a banana, I usually strip the peel off, whip it in the trash, and devour the fruit. I grab a banana on the go, when rushing to an appointment, or when driving to work. After I'm finished, I throw the peel on the passenger side floor mat or stuff it into the cup holder.

My father touches the top banana, lightly, as if taking care not to disrupt its serene poise, yet needing to feel its yellow presence. I ask him if he wants one. He pulls his hand back. "No, I just like looking at them," he says. And so we look at the bananas, together.


Photo "Bananas - Simple" provided by StuartOlver, via Flickr creative commons license.

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