I repeat, this is only an exercise.
Fall means the return of apples, but their cousins the pears are my favored fruity anticipation for the season. They're more sophisticated and coy, with their winey richness, cello curves, and delayed gratification. They're never ready to eat when I get them home from the grocery store. They make me wait while they ripen on the windowsill, privately transforming their flesh from stringy and dry to smooth and buttery. But they don't like to wait too long, and they need attending. Neglect them too much, and they die of heart rot, undiscovered until I slice into that time-blushed skin. Sometimes I salvage what soft, slippery, final-moments flesh I can carve away from the mushy spreading core and eat the pieces with a slurp, as if I'm racing time.