She stood at the kitchen sink washing dishes, gazing out the window that overlooked the garden. Ripe red tomatoes ballooned on trellis vines. She knew if she didn’t pick them today they’d fall by dusk, left to rot or attract vermin. She didn’t have time to pick them today, however; she had washing and drying and cooking and baking to do. Her work was endless, and the children would be home from school soon. Sometimes she felt like those red tomatoes—ready to fall and rot and be eaten by pests, having been neglected during her prime. For she was better than all this—the housework and the monotony of caring for herself and others. This was all beneath her. And she never even wanted to be a mother. But she’d had no choice. Before she could change the world, she’d become a mother. And yet, she lamented, she could have done so much with her life.
What she didn’t realize was that nothing was beneath her. She was the flea-infested rat beneath the ripe tomato, greedy mouth open and ready to snap up a juicy prize she hadn’t earned. Blinded by ego, she had no idea that she was lucky to have the safety of a heated house, the great fortune of food to cook and family to love her. She deserved none of it. And she could have been changing the world already, if she had the competence to step away from her reflection and look at the people around her. Instead, she foolishly imagined a world where she didn’t take care of others or herself; it was a world that didn’t exist, for all of life requires monotonous maintenance for survival. And she had many choices: she had the choice to change her perspective. To step outside of herself. To find it an honor and a privilege to pluck the ripe tomato from its vine and taste its simple yet delicious flavor.
But instead she let the tomato fall and rot, left to be devoured by greedy mouths only wanting more.