My New Friend Potato

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I bought him at the market together with a dozen of other ordinary potatoes. He was special. I saw that at once when I emptied the bag and spotted this huge gorgeous specimen of garden vegetables. He was heavier that the others and his shape was extraordinary too. He was oval and the top looked like my own thumb in close-up. I took him in my hand and his rough cool skin and pleasant weight made me excited with anticipation of something wonderfully unusual. I wanted to scrutinize my new friend and find out everything about him. The first thing that caught my eye was how badly damaged he was. He was not rotten or anything like that but his delicate skin was cut and scratched profusely. I noticed a crescent-shaped scar on his upper-right side and numerous cuts resembling a Chinese character for I in the centre. There was also a star-shaped hollow on his very top with black spots inside. He was covered in dry mud that made my fingers feel dusty. I turned him to the other side feeling impatient to see the undisclosed part of my new friend. His other side looked and felt different. It was smoother and less dusty and the skin pattern there looked like the dirty pores on the oily face of a filthy teenager. The color of this side was different too it was yellowish, powdered with dust while the tone of the first side was closer to dirty pink. At this point I was satisfied with our first meeting and hoping I made a good impression on him too, I went to have lunch.

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When I came back, he was lying lonely on the table in the same spot where I left him. I touched him and he felt cold. His surface was uneven and hilly. I rubbed him a little in my hands and suddenly smelt the odor of food served in pre-school canteen. It could have been from my own hands though. I approached the potato to my nose to find out how it really smelt but felt nothing but cold. I scratched his skin a little to peel it and his real odor filled my nose and mouth. It smelt of iodine so heavily with an aftertaste of some aggressive acid that it even made my mouth water for some reason. It was not appetizing or anything like that at all. I wondered what made potatoes tasty in the process of cooking. The task got even more interesting for me at this point even though I had other stuff to do. I peeled the skin with my nail in several other places to compare the smell and this time iodine odor got mixed with the characteristic smell of starch. The secondary subtle smell of kindergarten soup still lingered there, mysterious and unexplainable.

At that moment I realized I was ready for the new quality step in my relationship with Mr. Potato. I took him with my both hands and made a big bite. I did not wash or wipe him before doing it not to hurt his feelings. He tasted raw and starchy; his flesh was unexpectedly glue-like and rather soft. I saw the imprint of my own teeth in his flesh and also some dark spots inside that I usually cut out before boiling or frying potatoes. I touched the newly-cut wound and it felt wet and cold. The piece I bit came off and the place of the bite started to resemble a big smile on his long scarred face. Despite the fact that I actually wounded him, the potato looked more cheerful with the imprint of my bite. My stomach started to ache at that point, probably because of dirty raw potato juice and I got tired of the exercise.

I went to bed and lied on my stomach for some time until it stopped aching. When I came back to the table I saw that the potato flesh changed its color, it grew orange and partly brownish from contacting with oxygen. The smile did not look very cheerful now. I licked it again and noticed than both the smell and the taste changed too. The acid odor evaporated and the potato flesh tasted and smelt mostly starchy and monstrously tasteless. This time I felt almost nauseated and decided to stop experimenting with licking dirty vegetables.

I shuddered and dropped the potato to the floor. It fell with a heavy bump, reverberating from the floor several times. It was lying there, bitten and thrown away, used and disposed of. I felt I was behaving as a typical consumer who used something and forgot about it immediately. I was looking at the potato from the height of my sitting body and noticed with surprise that the place of the bite I made looked of the same color as the potatos regular skin. I could hardly discern the outlines of the bite from the distance. The potato surprisingly matched the color of my brown linoleum too. As seen from the height, the potato no longer seemed unusual or wonderful. It was just an ordinary potato stupidly bitten by a slightly mad student writing his creative task late at night. I could feel that the whole experience was something more than just a description task. I wanted to write about the multitude of symbolic interpretations of the experience but remembered that it should be a purely description exercise. I looked at the potato again, realized that there was nothing left to describe, picked it up and threw it into the trash-bin.

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