Cilantro swaggers into the room and starts telling offensive jokes, either to everyone’s dismay or delight. He never apologizes, and even if he did, no one would be able to tell if he were serious. Every once in a while, he cleans himself up, wears a button-up shirt, and holds a door open for a lady.
Fennel shows up to dinner still smelling like sawdust, hair clinging to his forehead, ever a Calvin Klein model. He has the muscles of a man who works with his hands and the manners of a business man.
Celeriac covers his track marks with tattoos, and covers his tattoos with layers of t-shirts and thermals and sweatshirts. His wild days will never be over. He is too smart for that. Indeed, he is as quick with his tongue as he ever was.
Kohl rabi has an odd laugh and an even odder last name. In school, she spent recesses alone on the swing set, and she frequently came home in tears from being teased. Yet she became more exotic-looking as she aged, even pretty some would say. She was growing into her uneven eyes and round cheeks and pout of a mouth. She taught herself how to wear eye liner and short dresses. Most importantly, she learned how to please herself, a gift that freed her.
Leek has always been striking without even trying. She could start a conversation with anyone in a bar, or a celebrity, or the president. She did not hold back. She would call her friends out on their missteps, and she would throw down generous amounts of money if she thought the investment was worth it.
Arugula acquired a reputation as a boyfriend stealer, but she always swore that she did not make the first move. Otherwise content men were smitten with her, she more furry and beautiful than anyone else. She did not know what to do with her appeal. As a teenager, she climbed from one back seat to the next. Once in her twenties, she wanted to nest. She needed security more than admiration.
Mizuna spent her Friday nights as a wing woman. Others complimented her on her personality, on all that she could add to trivia night or a heated debate. Yet she never knew life as the star. She seemed even more potent in her anonymity.
Watercress never should have lived as long as she did. She received diagnosis after diagnosis, death ever eminent. Yet the doctors did not appreciate that she developed roots vigorously and often. She would not let go of life, would not stop baking or bicycling or telling the universe exactly what she thought.
Rutabaga blows his nose so hard that it sounds like a trumpet in dark theaters. In fact, he has played the trumpet since the age of ten, experimenting with every genre from jazz to polka. Rutabaga cannot sit through boredom. He needs to add something stronger to the mix, something that cannot otherwise be replicated.
Beet lives in a house surrounded by things that comfort her and things that comfort her friends. She stashes away an assortment of tea and fingernail polish for times of need, for heartbreak and frustration and disappointment. She always seems to be nursing a kitten and tending a wood stove. Hers is a couch visitors can sink into; her arms never let go of a hug until the other is ready.
Parsley retains the accent of an outsider but slips into a local crowd. Her mother always told her, “Do you know what we all have in common? Our humanity.” Parsley spent her career in social work, catering to every socioeconomic class, laughing at their jokes, being offered gifts of fudge or well-worn clothing. People tended to like the look of her, she secretly beautiful even though her mother always told her she was average. They trusted her, and opened up to her, and asked her for help, and that is what made her glow.