Today at work, the copyeditor put a kumquat on my desk.
“What’s this?” I said.
“It’s a kumquat,” she said. “You should eat it.”
“I didn’t know those were real,” I said.
“Surprise,” she said. “Now eat it.”
I studied the little orange fruit, which was just slightly bigger than a grape. “I sense a trap,” I said.
“No trap,” she said. “They’re delicious.”
“How do I eat it?” I said.
“You just put it in your mouth.”
“Peeling and all?”
“Peeling and all,” she said. “At first it’s sour, but if you chew it long enough, it gets sweet.”
I put the kumquat in my mouth and I chewed it. And it was sour. Eye-wateringly sour. I started to spit it out, but the copyeditor said, “You have to keep chewing! It’ll get sweet, I promise.”
So I kept chewing. I muscled through the sour, and through the sour turning to bitter. All while my taste buds screamed and my sinuses rebelled.
And then, suddenly, just like she had promised, it turned sweet, and my last moments of the kumquat were sweet. Sweet enough that the sour didn’t seem quite so bad anymore.
“I don’t think I liked it,” I said.
The copyeditor smiled. “Just wait. In a few minutes, you’ll want more.”
Life is like a kumquat. Sometimes, it’s sour and it hurts, but if you don’t push through and keep chewing, it never gets sweet.