...I am a little girl, eating breakfast at my grandparents' house after spending the night. My grandfather, Jim, asks, "do you want an orange, or orange juice?" and when I say "both," a sunny yellow glass of juice appears above my plate, which has cheery sections of orange, cut with the skin still on, beside his trademark sausage and cheese biscuits. He tells me about the health benefits of eating the white part (is it called the pith?) and i listen politely, and hide the sinewy strings in my napkin, crumbled in my lap.
...I am thirteen, and my grandparents live with us a few days a week while my mom is in graduate school. My grandmother, Rena, an athlete at almost seventy, is fit and disciplined. I, in eighth grade, am curvy and awkward. We are watching "Seinfeld," and eating dessert. Rena has 1/4 cup of ice cream in a measuring cup, and then peels an orange. "You can't get fat eating oranges," she says.
...I am twenty-four, driving home from skiing with my friends. I've recently moved to Colorado from New Hampshire, and every ski day is the best I've ever had. Raised an east coast skier, I am familiar with ice and more ice. I've never skied powder, never skied anything close to powder, and as I discover the terrain and the snow in Colorado, I am hooked. I moved because I was in love with someone who very much was not in love with me, and because I had friends moving, and a friend already in Boulder. I'm working as a nanny for a family whom I adore, and their daughter has not yet been diagnosed with kidney cancer (she will be diagnosed on her fourth birthday, and after a summer of chemo and radiation, she will be fine). I'm living a life of pure joy, eating juicy slices of orange and some left over peanut butter and jelly from lunch, music blaring, mountains looming.