Henry was born in Guatemala but he moved to the United States with his family soon after being born. They moved into a local food market in Nashville, TN. They settled, amongst many others like them, into a box in aisle 3. Henry…is a banana.
During his journey from Guatemala as well as during his time in the market, he had seen many other strange fruits. He spoke about them often to his siblings. “I wonder what they’re like. Wonder if they sound like us. Gosh, they all look so different!” he would exclaim. Henry’s brother always said that you couldn’t trust other fruit…that they were all weirdly shaped, not as intelligent, and not only unpleasant to be around but dangerous. He often said that bananas weren’t meant to mingle with other fruit. He said they were bundled together and therefore were meant to stay together. That always made Henry wonder because he knew his brother had never come any closer to other fruit types than he had. How could he possibly know this about ALL fruit? But he was right about one thing…he and his family had always been bundled up together within a banana community. Until the day Henry’s fate took him somewhere he never imagined.
Henry was pulled one morning from his family, from the banana bin, from the community he knew so well and placed in a rundown, much smaller bin. When he landed he noticed he was all alone and found himself looking up for his family and the other bananas to fall from the sky. And then one after another, fruits began to fall next to him but they weren’t bananas. The first to fall and roll was Tommy the orange. Henry immediately smelled him. It was like nothing he had ever smelled before. Then came Susie. Susie was this massive pineapple. Next, the big thud of Mary and Melissa, the mango twins. Then finally all the others…Jessica, Travis, Gilbert, Richard, Shanna, Theresa, April, Eddie, Jason, Dan, Tracy, Cynthia, Bob, and Justin. They were the thickest bunch of grapes you’ll ever meet. And there they all sat with Henry. Henry - confused, lost, and lonely missing his family and all the other bananas.
The first couple days in the bin, which was later discovered to be the ‘discount bin’, were relatively quiet with exception to the incessant chatter of the grapes. Shanna was probably the loudest of them all. But for the most part, the different fruit types kept to themselves. Then one day Tommy rolled up to Henry and struck up a conversation. “Where you from kid? How long have you been in the market?” he asked. Henry sensed Tommy was just as lonely as he was and just wanted conversation to pass the time so he happily obliged. They began conversing through the days getting to know each other. Henry loved sitting and chatting with Tommy, at first due to his smell which he found delightful, but as he actually got to know him he found himself enthralled by Tommy’s stories. Tommy had traveled from Florida on the back of a truck and as a result had lots of interesting stories from the road.
Eventually Tommy and Henry’s conversation fell to fruit type. Tommy was wondering if Henry had ever been exposed to so many different types in his same bin. His answer was ofcourse no. But he felt close enough to Tommy to share his brother’s perspective. He shared how he didn’t really ever believe his brother’s words…about all other fruit was unpleasant to be around. This conversation peaked the attention of Susie who had been keeping to herself since landing in the bin. She hopped over and began sharing loudly how she’d experienced many fruit types before and carried no prejudice to any of them. She claimed to be ‘type blind’, remarking that she saw everyone as the same and therefore liked everyone. During this rant she looked at Henry and said, “And you! I don’t even see that peel of yours! We’re all fruit! I see everyone the same…as equal!” Though he could tell she was well-intentioned, Henry was taken by this comment. How could she NOT see how different he was with his bright, yellow peel and curvature? That never really sat well with him.
Life in the bin progressed pretty much the same day after day. Henry and Tommy becoming closer and closer with the sporadic interruption of Susie. The mango sisters keeping to themselves, whispering here and there, and the grape bunch chattering away about who knows what. Then one evening something happened that would transform the discount fruit bin forever: another piece of fruit fell from the sky in the strangest way.
She was a small plum surrounded by plastic. As soon as she landed she cried out but it was muffled. She was suffocating. This of course grabbed the attention of all the fruit. They instantly looked down at the hurt, entrapped plum then around at each other. In a flash, as if by an unspoken language, they each understood they had to act at that instant if they were to save her. Susie immediately assessed the situation and seeing that the bag was tied near the top, she devised a plan. She started barking out orders, “Grapes! Over here! Mangos! I need you over here! Tommy, get over here!!” Everyone followed orders feeling the intention and strength behind her words.
“I need you to roll her as best you can from side to side!” she shouted to Tommy. It was all happening so fast, but Henry could see how she had placed a portion of the plastic sheet on one of her prickly spines and was using Tommy’s swift but easy rolling motion to move the plum and subsequently the plastic back and forth as she braced herself in a corner. She had positioned the grapes and the mango sisters on top of the plastic to better stabilize it. Instinctively, the grapes, notably Shanna, were keeping the little plum calm by saying all was well and to relax and breathe easy…that she would be out soon.
Then miraculously the plastic ripped. As soon as she saw the tear, Susie turned to Henry, “Now! Henry I need you here now!” Henry, having been awestruck by the scene unfolding before him, snapped out of his daze after hearing his name and came flopping over. Keeping the mangos and grapes in place, Susie wanted him to use his body like a hook to pull the hole open wide enough for the plum to roll out. He was obedient and determined. As the hole opened wider and wider, Tommy helped slide the plum towards it. Then out she slid, wheezing and gasping for air. Susie’s plan had worked!
All the fruits gathered around the plum to comfort her. They could all see how she had been bruised at some point during her journey. After she caught her breathe she explained how she had just been taken from the plum community, stuffed in a bag, and carried in a cart around the market. Riding in the cart, she began panicking realizing she was slowly losing air. Then as quickly as she had been plucked from her home, she was picked up out of the cart and tossed into the discount bin left for dead, or so she thought. She expressed so much gratitude to everyone for her rescue. And all the fruit came together and welcomed her. With the arrival of Paris the plum, they in a sense, welcomed each other. It was the most time they had all spent talking together since landing in the bin themselves.
Not long after the rescue, early one morning Henry woke up with Susie sitting peacefully beside him. They were all growing closer since saving Paris, so this wasn’t altogether surprising. But what she told him was. She leaned over to him and gently whispered, “Henry, I was wrong. I’ve been wrong for so long. What I said about fruit types…about being ‘blind’ to them? I was wrong. If it wasn’t for all the unique elements that each of us have we wouldn’t have been able to save Paris. The truth is, I see your yellow peel and beautiful, curved shape. And I’m grateful for them. Thank you Henry. Thank you for being you and thank you for helping to save Paris.”
As she slowly scooted away, Henry beamed with love and joy. He was grateful for how life in the bin had changed after Paris. The fruits were slowly becoming like family.
I’m Cassandra Worthy...the Happiness Writer. My skin is brown. I identify as African American. I’m gay. I’m female. I’m human. I love. I recognize and celebrate the diversity of mankind. Will you join me?