KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 6: Fall 2016
Micro-Fiction: 338 words

There Must Be Lemon Groves in Heaven

by Kelsey Dean

Omi added lemon to everything. Couscous, salad, chicken. Tea. Lentil soup. She was partial to oranges, too, and nothing made her happier in the morning than a fresh grapefruit halved and shining in one of her favorite blue ceramic bowls. Zara sometimes thought that Omi’s palms were filled with a magnetic attraction to citrus fruits. Like her life-lines and love-lines were inexplicably connected to those bumpy exteriors. When Zara pictured Omi in her mind, the easiest image to conjure was one of bright yellow lemons melting into soft brown hands, juice pooling and seeds falling between fingers.

It always smelled like lemons when Zara walked into the kitchen after school, from the first day of kindergarten to the last day of senior year. Zara loved Omi’s cooking. Lemon, mint, cumin—those were the flavors of home.

Her studio apartment never really grew on her, with its layered bricks and exposed pipes. It was always chilly inside. Melancholy. Noor still lived with Baba back in Michigan, but Zara had moved out for a job at a law firm in Chicago. She didn’t love living alone, although she didn’t exactly miss living with her family, either; home didn’t taste much like home with Omi gone. She mostly worried about Baba. Noor said he was going through his daily motions like a blind man, which made sense. He’d lost his source of light. He said it himself at the wake.

Zara hoped he took comfort in the lemons like she did. Whenever the weight of Omi’s absence pressed down too heavily on her, she sliced one open and raised it to her mouth, letting the sour acid wash over her tongue in a painful rush. Cramps flickered through her jaw muscles like lightning and paralyzed the threat of tears before they had a chance to fall.

And when she closed her eyes for that brief spasm, she could smell Omi hovering right in front of her face, as robust and unflinchingly vibrant as ever.


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