Dec 11


     It was only a bowl of pears. 
     Nothing more than five pears in an ugly ceramic bowl sitting on a table in a cheap hotel room in Burlington, Vermont.
     And yet this incredibly unextraordinary bowl of pears had been holding Xavi's utmost attention for a little over ten minutes now. 
     Xavi had been born in Zanzibar, and although his memories of the place were faint, he could distinctly remember a bowl sitting on the table, perpetually full of pears. Pears, of all the fruits in the world. What had his mother been thinking? He supposed she had expected them to eat them, and he did, because when you're a young kid just the novelty of grabbing something out of the fruit bowl whenever you want is enough. And so, his mother always bought more pears. 
     When Xavi was eight, his family had packed their bags, jumped on a boat, and sailed to London, whre shortly after buying a small apartment, his mother had immediately bought a new bowl and filled it with pears. Xavi had been more reluctant to eat them, now that he was old enough to fix himself a different snack, but once in a while he did take one, just to let his mother know that her efforts were appreciated.
     When Xavi was eighteen years old, he put his finger on a map and declared he was going to Burlington, Vermont, to try and make a career as a fashion designer. He had known for years he wanted to go to America, but stopping off at some big city where all the other dreamers wandered around just didn't suit him. So far, he had only seen a few things to make him regret his descision. For example, he wasn't a huge fan of winter, he thought flannel an ugly fluke in the fashion industry, and he held absolutely no interest in skiing, which is apparently what any sane Vermonter's life revolved around in winter.
     Xavi had only just stumbled off a plane and into this room, where, just as he thought he had finally broken free, what sight should greet his eyes but a bowl of pears.
     Xavi sighed and walked around the room, looking at everything but the pears. Honestly, the pears shouldn't have bothered him too much, as the whole room was an eyesore. Both the duvet and the curtains were different variations of vomit-inducing paisley, the carpet was dried up and brownish-gray, and the whole room smelled faintly of cigarettes and chemical cleaner, as if the last person to stay in this room had conviniently not noticed the NO SMOKING sign on the door. He passed a mirror and caught a glimpse of his reflection. He was a skinny thing, with skin the color of creamy coffee, shoulder-length hair the color of a crow, and eyes the exact shade of mottled green as a pear. He was clad in a cast-off pair of navy blue Converse All Stars, the kind that laced all the way up to his knees, a silky maroon blouse that was technically from the women's department, and tight jeans that were also, though less obviously, meant for someone of the opposite gender. Thrown over it all was a fake fur coat, found at a thrift shop three years ago and trasured ever since. Xavi sighed. What a shame. What a waste. He looked like he should be at some exclusive gathering of the stylish and higly artistic, and here he was standing on dried-up carpet.
     "Do you need anything?" Xavi turned around at the sound of the voice. In the doorway stood the desk clerk, tall with strawberry-blond hair and delicate features. His eyes were a rather unfortunate shade of brown that remided Xavi of dirty snowbanks, but the rest of his face made up for it.
     Xavi shook his head. "I don't think so."
     The clerk nodded. "Okay." He began to walk away.
     "Wait!" Xavi quickly called. The clerk looked back at him. "Is there a bowl of pears in every room?"
    The clerk nodded. "The hotel's not the greatest, so we try to do what we can. It was my idea, actually," he added casually.
     Xavi smiled. This could work out well for him. "It's a great idea." He took one of the fruits from the bowl. "I love pears. They remind me of home." He took a bite, trying to conceal the way his lips curled as they touched the fruit. "What's your name?" he asked, finding himself unable to swallow the pear.
     The clerk smiled for the first time. It was a nice, crooked little smile. "Paul. You're Xavi, right?"
     Xavi nodded, still chewing away at the pear.
     "Will you be staying for a while?"
     "Quite a while, I should think," Xavi answered, risking a sentance with his mouth still full of pear.
     Paul nodded. "Then I guess we'll be seeing each other again." Then he was gone. 
     Xavi smiled. Then, he stumbled over to the sink and spit the pear out, drinking three glasses of water to get the taste off his tongue.
     Xavi had always hated pears.
     But it looked like he was going to have to live with them.