The little girl sat down to eat her banana. It was the biggest banana she had ever seen. It was the biggest banana her mother had seen. Her father said he had once seen a bigger banana, but he said he didn’t try to eat it.
The little girl pulled at the stem of the banana peel. The top was still slightly green. The banana opened with a snap. She took a bite. The flesh was toothsome, and just a little bit sour. After her first bite, the bottom of the banana grew by half an inch.
The little girl took another bite. The banana grew again. She kept biting and biting. By the time she had taken ten bites, the banana was longer than the bottom of her chair. By the time she took twenty bites, the banana was to the floor.
All afternoon she tried to finish the banana. She tried to eat faster. The banana grew faster. She tried to eat slower. The banana kept growing. Her mother offered to help her, but the girl said, “This is my banana.”
Night came. The little girl’s mother told her it was time for bed.
“But I’m not done with my banana, mother,” she said. Mashed banana fell out of her mouth as she talked. The banana was running the length of the kitchen floor.
“Well, then carry on if you will but there will be no supper for you,” her mother said as she turned off the light.
The next morning the little girl was still working on her banana. She had opened the front door and the banana was now crawling down the porch. The neighbors came by to see why there was a big banana creeping down the street.
Some neighbors said, “Wow, that’s quite a banana!”
Other neighbors said, “Wow, that’s quite a determined little girl!”
The little girl kept eating her banana. Her father gave the residual peel to their dog, but the dog got too fat and so he stopped. The little girl’s mother wove the banana peel into a blanket, which was nice because, with the front door open, the little girl was often cold.
Time kept passing, and soon the banana wrapped around the earth. People saw the banana in the Black Forest and in the foothill of the Andes. They wrote on the banana in all different languages, “Keep going! You can do it!”
The little girl was no longer little nor a girl, but a woman. The house had been replaced by a much larger manse made of banana peel leather covered in writing from all over the world. The woman’s mother and father had long moved away, tiring of their daughter’s endless quest to finish the banana.
One day, she read on the banana peel that her parents had died. The woman kept eating.
And then many years later, long white hair flowing down her back, the now very old woman came upon the dark brown end of the banana. She did it. The banana was eaten. And the old woman wept.
Renée Jessica Tan
Renee Jessica Tan’s work has appeared in various anthologies and publications including Flash Fiction Online, Everyday Fiction, and MacQueen’s Quinterly. Her short story “Baghead'” was read live at Symphony Space in New York City and featured on the Selected Shorts podcast that first aired October 2020. Her flash fiction story “Auntie Cheeks” was published in Best Small Fictions 2021.
Artwork: Henry Alfred Maurer’s Still Life with Pomegranate and Bananas, 1912