That evening, his son came round for tea. When told there was only pomegranate for pudding, amazingly, his son had said, ‘Have you been talking to mum?’ ‘Mum..? About pomegranates..? Er, no. What would I do that for?’ He felt sure he was haunching his shoulders. ‘I just like pomegranates and got you one on the off chance, that’s all.’ ‘Good,’ his son said, ‘I like them.’ He seemed a little troubled by this and looked at his son, ‘I’ve only got one safety pin.’ But his son just raised his eyebrows. And, in truth, the pin had become a symbol of a time gone-by, a time, where everything was held together, taken apart, re-assembled again with the help of a safety pin.
There were the giant ones you could skewer your leg with inbetween bandages; medium size ones for nappies and tiny ones for pinning flowers to lapels, testing both finger dexterity and oblique eyesight. Truth be told, he’d started to use his pin but agh, health and safety! Pins can easily go through gums or other soft tissues. Up your nose if drinking wine while watching The Beiderbecke Affair. Nah, he’d lain the talismanic pin on one side and reached for the sharp knife, separating the pomegranate with swift cuts into quarters.
Another time, raising each quarter up in turn, he’d turned it over, admiring the gleaming, ruby red flesh, absorbing the light reflecting off its sides. He peeled some of the pith away and focused on a patch of juicy seeds, then chomp. Oh, joyous heaven! Oh, wondrous life, he sang, as the juice seeped over his tongue. He savoured the moments, swirling the juice around his mouth before releasing it slowly down his throat. Oh, yum. And there was always juice on the plate, which needed drinking up, like a toast. And, finally, a quick check to see were there any seeds on his chin or dribble. If he was lucky, there would be and he would catch them all, sticking his tongue out as far as he could and licking his lips.
This all takes time, he felt, and is not to be rushed. Once, he had taken more than half-an-hour to eat a single pomegranate. ‘Eat me slowly,’ the pomegranate calls.
The following Saturday, he took his two pomegranates over to the till, along with a basket of other stuff. ‘Brought your own bags?’ she asked him. ‘Yes, just a sec…and I’ve come for my two-pomegranate, de-seeding demo,’ he told her. ‘Oh, no…I forgot! Still, it’s easy. Just google it, Jamie Oliver…’ ‘I don’t want to google it,’ he said firmly. ‘I’m feeling really let down now. I don’t believe that such a trick is possible. A single slice here and another one there and all the seeds drop out. It’s preposterous. I think you’re making it all up, I really do!’ ‘No, really, google it. It’s on…’ ‘I’m sorry. I trusted you and you’ve let me down… as well as missing a trick here. There won’t be thousands of people, queuing up to watch your de-pipping operations now, will there…?’ She started to…’but there’s no such thing, is there?’ He hoped he looked disgusted as he glanced back over the heap of pomegranates on his way out. ‘I’ll find it for next week,’ she called after him. ‘See you next week. See yer.’ See yer.’