Prose by Manon Sintès

Maybe God is the insect in my bathroom sink, that I try to blow out and instead send spinning

into a water droplet, its wings sticking to the ceramic, its little legs flailing in the air. What have

you done to me! shouts God. Oh no, I whisper. I blow again, a long breath until it unsticks,

scampering away. I imagine myself at Heaven’s gates. Well done, God would boom, you never

even hurt a fruit fly, and I would stride right in and enjoy eternity not thinking of the snails I’ve

accidentally stepped on or the countless cows I’ve supply-and-demanded into slaughter. You?! I

would remark in faux surprise, you were that fruit fly?! God would laugh and say indeed I was,

my child. I watch the insect; it seems to be attracted to my drain plug. Stupid God, I think. God is

a fruit fly and has a death wish.

I hang citrus skins to dry and put the pieces in an empty jam jar for burning. I still dislike peeling

them, digging orange skin and oil under my nails where the sun doesn’t shine and the smell and

colour of them will linger too long. I used to have a friend in school who would start the peel for

me, I’d hand them to her at lunchtimes. I used to ask her all embarrassed, but then it became

natural and I started handing her oranges without saying anything. I hope she didn’t find me

rude, I only imagined we were so familiar we didn’t need to use please, and thank you, and can

you peel my orange for me like you have done for a hundred lunches. Perhaps it was infantile,

but there was something about wanting the hands of the girl you were secretly very much in

love with to peel the fruit you would eat, and segment by segment, offer her every other piece,

‘i-love-you’, ‘you-love-me-not’s delicious until there was nothing left. Consuming fruit peeled by

your hands, wordlessly exchanged, sharing a meal — a primitive thing people close to one

another have been doing since there were people and there was trust. We may as well be

hunched by the fire in the neolithic age, the smell of citrus a beckoning lightbulb in the

branches, split into half like you are prying apart the heart of a thing, the peel dried and tossed

crackling into the fire, as I do now, in offering to the same god by a different name.

Skip to content