Durian is called the king of fruits, and in my opinion, well-deserved. Its flesh is custardy and fragrant, and palatable to boot. It is richly nutritious, and is loaded with all kinds of vitamins and protein. Therefore, it is also regarded as a nutritional supplement. However, since durian is classified as a ‘heaty’ fruit that purportedly can raise the body heat, one should limit its consumption and not overindulge.
Conversely, mangosteen, considered the “queen of fruits”, is of the cooling food genus. Its flesh is succulent and delicately flavored; its sweetness tempered with a slight tartness. Each mangosteen contains only a few fleshy segments, but because its taste is so light and refreshing, as a summer fruit it is most enticing.
Durian and mangosteen; one is ‘heaty’, the other cooling; one emits a strong pungent odor, the other a fruity refreshing aroma. They differ greatly in outer appearance, flavor, attributes, and shape, seemingly incompatible; yet when paired, they surprisingly complement each other’s respective ‘heaty’ and ‘cooling’ attribute.
Mother Nature has her own rules of balancing nature; likewise, the rules of human interactions are just as interesting. Some psychologists assert that women and men were originally from different planets; subsequently they met on earth, became acquainted and got to know each other, fell in love, and finally got married and had children. However, to claim that women and men originated from separate planets, one might as well allegorize that men were durians and women were mangosteens.
That once upon a time, long long ago, Durian met Mangosteen in a jungle. The two fruits were mutually attracted, and swept up in a whirlwind romance. In the beginning, they were so much in love that they had eyes only for each other’s virtues.
Mangosteen loved Durian’s strong and sturdy appearance, his heroic masculinity and solidness; undoubtedly, a good candidate as an ideal husband. Durian loved Mangosteen’s gentleness and graciousness, petiteness and unique personality; a good candidate as an ideal wife.
However, while planning their wedding, they argued constantly over differing opinions. He said, she said; and none willing to back down. Their arguments turned acrimonious, segueing into personal attacks. Mangosteen belittled Durian for his stinking odor, his spiky form and his inconsideration. Durian recriminated Mangosteen for constantly wearing a ‘black’ face day in and day out, and that she was as insipid as lukewarm water, totally vapid.
Their escalating recriminations were acerbic and bitter. Their hearts broke, and the two fruits soon parted ways. Days passed, Durian and Mangosteen were suddenly taken seriously ill. Durian was afflicted with Afired Heart disease, (熱毒攻心)while Mangosteen, Frigid Heart illness. (寒氣入侵). Coincidentally, the antidote for their respective afflictions happened to be their respective flesh. And so they scheduled a meeting. They were subdued at the rendezvous, but upon seeing each other’s wan and sickly countenance, sadness welled up from deep within them. And tears streamed down Mangosteen’s face. Seeing her thus, tenderness filled Durian’s heart; without a word, he cracked opened his spiky husk, selected a part of him and proffered it to Mangosteen. Likewise, Mangosteen also forcibly slit opened herself, picked a sliver of white flesh, and in turn offered it to Durian. At that very moment, both fruits got to look deep into each other’s heart. Despite Durian’s tough exterior, inside him lay a heart of gold. (金光萬丈) Despite Mangosteen’s dark exterior, inside her was a heart of pure jade. (潔白如玉).
After this exchange, the fruits got to know each other all over again. Their love deepened, and finally they tied the knot and lived happily ever after. pp 42-43
I picked this essay as my 2nd favorite for several reasons: 1) Very unexpected that Steven would write about these 2 tropical fruits let alone a romance story for them. 2) The romance of these fruits is not only creative but also meaningful, and thoroughly appealed to the romantic side in me. 3) The romantic relationship between two unlikely and opposite fruits gives a glimpse into the Steven's own romantic, sensitive and creative nature. 4) The story is awww sweet and very romantic.
Undoubtedly Steven loves that essay too because he posted it on his weibo. 2010-8-17 12:42