Papaya, and the Memories of Grandpa

There is a story of the papaya. My grandfather loved papayas. In 2005, he was diagnosed with malignant melanoma and he died just months after the diagnosis. While he was sick, he did not want to eat a lot of things although he was a good eater when he was healthy. One day while he was confined at a hospital, he asked me to buy papaya. I walked so many blocks from the hospital to the nearest fruit stand I saw selling its last piece of papaya.

I walked back to the hospital, happy, knowing grandpa would probably be eating that night with the papaya he requested. He never ate the papaya because it was not ripe and it was ugly. I swallowed back tears, partially because I walked really far to find that papaya and partially because I knew we would be losing him sooner, rather than later. My grandpa was a strong man, but for the last days of his life, I thought he was the weakest man I know because he never showed signs of fighting back the illness. He was in Stage 4 of the cancer, probably had a very low immune system mostly because he was an alcoholic and a smoker before I was born, and he was 71 years old.

That’s my story of the papaya. I could not remember eating papaya after my grandpa died. But recently I dreamt of him, and I decided to buy an organic papaya. Of course, I was fighting back tears when childhood memories  (guess what, papayas and salty tears make a good combination) and thoughts of my grandmother who’s now loveless came flashing.


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