I had left the office quite late, and I had been tasked to find a salad before coming home.
In another city, this might have been difficult, so late in the evening, but I happen to work just above one of Hong Kong’s most famous wet markets, where stalls upon stalls offer fruits, vegetables, meats and fishes from close and afar.
Still, by the time I emerged from the office, only a few of these stalls were open anymore, and only one had any lettuce.
I paid the (ridiculously low) price to the man who wrapped the leaves for me without even glancing away from the soap opera on TV, and I walked back down to catch my tram.
On the way, I passed the fruit stall (in HK, for some reason, you will never find fruits and vegetables in the same stall) of an old granny, who always seems to start working long before me, and stay long after I leave. I stopped, looking for something inspiring for dessert.
“You want an avocado,” she said.
There was something a bit odd in her tone, which I didn’t fully recognise then.
“Do you have pomegranates?” I asked.
“No, you want an avocado.”
I looked at her, puzzled. It didn’t sound like a question.
“Yes, you want an avocado,” she repeated, nodding, and started selecting one for me.
At that point, I recognized her: she was the Obiwan Kenobi of fruit sellers. These were not the droids I was looking for; the avocados were. How could I ever have wanted anything else than avocados? Is there anything tastier than an avocado anyway? Of course there isn’t.
“For today or for tomorrow?” She asked.
“Both. I want both,” I replied, reminiscing upon all the bad avocados I have had in my life, the scores of unripe, hard cannon balls, only proper for wartime golf, and the legions of mushy, black rotten things that you typically get when you try to find a ripe one in the supermarket’s pile. Of course she was ripping me off, but I couldn’t stop myself. Had offered me the entire stand, enough avocados for me to last the entire year, I would have bought them all. I had been jedi mind-tricked.
She picked two fruits, including a suspiciously-looking one that seemed to have been nibbed upon by birds, then pointed at her oranges.
“You want an orange.”
Once again, it wasn’t a question.
I bought enough oranges to last a lifetime in prison.
And now I’m at home, and guess what?
Best f***ing avocados I’ve had in my life.
Although I can’t decide whether they are really good, or if she has also tricked me into believing they are.
In any case, I’m going back there tomorrow. At Obi Wan’s little sister’s fruit stall…