According to a book I read, kudzu is edible. I laughed when I remembered this. Thanks to my datagraphic memory, I was able to pull up the image of those pages in my head. Flipping through the file, the pages even included recipes for various salads and sautéed delectables.
At least the kudzu might be good for something, I thought. I hated the way it grew over everything. It had completely taken over. It even suffocated the trivets – that other hardy foreign botanical invader – where the blackbirds had once hid, jumping from branch to branch. Now the birds, even the black ones, had flown away.
We were so lost in ourselves -- lost in our data -- we ignored the vines growing wild around us. I don’t know what happened to the rest of the world. All that remained was the kudzu, the whirring of hidden cicadas, and me.
And I had grown hungry.
When I tore off a handful of leaves, amber blood pulsed from stems as if they were green arteries. I thought I heard a scream and then stifled laughter, but I ignored this as I shoveled the leaves into my mouth.
They tasted sweet and reminded me of a tender rare steak that Jon had once bought me on a Valentine’s Day date long ago. There had been some effort on his part to make his messy apartment romantic. He even decorated the table with flowers and candles, but it was the steak that won my heart. I remembered having to struggle to leave those last few bites of meat on my plate that day. I wanted to eat it all, but did not want Jon to think I was a pig. We all wear masks like that, especially for those we love. At least for those ones that we want to love us in return.
Like that steak, there was a metallic aftertaste to the greenery, like iron. This was complimented by a hint of something citric or maybe minty on the back of the tongue. I shoveled handful after handful into my mouth. Drool dibbled down my chin. I ignored this and ingested more.
Then the whirring of cicadas buzzed inside my bones. Their song pounded in my head. My vision went spotty, then black. I doubled over in pain.
Vines erupted from my skin as the kudzu grew out and over me. My leaves rustled with bitter laughter.