On my late walk with Monty last night I came across this bunch of blackened bananas placed deliberately, it seemed, on a bench, not far from our apartment. I was weirdly transfixed by the bananas, and found myself speculating on their presence. I imagined a bitter marital argument, about money, I expect, rather than, you know, the other. The children listening, frightened in their rooms, clutching one, her ragdoll, the other, his teddy. Finally, the man, spluttering with inarticulate rage stands, resolving to leave, and never return. Some part of him knows that he must take something for sustenance, and he grabs the bananas – already well past their best (in that, they are like him, and perhaps it is this affinity that makes him reach for them) and leaves, slamming the door behind him. Out in the street, the cold hits him, and with it the sense that he has been ridiculous. He finds the bench and sits there for a while – ten minutes, perhaps, hoping that his wife will begin to feel some pity for him, and regret her stern line on the finances. He decides that he can go back now, thinking to pass the whole thing off as a joke. But he knows to return with the bananas will make him … absurd. So he leaves them there, on the bench. Yes, I’m sure that’s it. I don’t know what happened when he went back in. Other lives are always a mystery. But I think they’ll be OK.
Which all left me with the dilemma of what to do with the bananas. They were too far gone to eat, as you can see, even leaving aside the possibility of them having been injected with Anthrax as part of some bizarre and inept terrorist plot (the other possibility I considered). But it seemed untidy and aesthetically unsatisfying to just leave them. Had there been a bin close by I’d have disposed of them there, but there wasn’t, and the likelihood that I would have to wander the streets for hours, with poisonous (or even radioactive) bananas in my hands put me off. So I left them on the bench. I’ll pop out later and see if they’re still there. I suppose if they had been a dirty bomb, I’d have heard about it on the news.