Living a life in constant yellow can be a wearying existence. When you're yellow, people expect you to carry on as though every moment of your life is bathed in sunshine from dawn 'til dusk, but the truth is that even Yellows have blue days.
Just ask Lemon.
Lemon was a tough guy to peel. Although bright and smooth in appearance, he often struggled to keep up with the expectation of being the life of the party. He compared himself too frequently to Banana and Passion-fruit (one admired for his form and the other for flavour), but even with this self-troubling habit most others in the fruit basket couldn't see past his goofiness to the sour pit he was feeding.
Lemon was sad. When you're so yellow, there's no opportunity to show off some of the other colours that are experienced just below the surface. The pinks of love, the blues of melancholy and the oranges of adventurousness never saw the sun on Lemon's peel... but before too long another colour began seeping out from his core.
"Lemon," Papaya commented one afternoon, "you're looking a little lime... are you okay?"
Lemon did what he could to let the comment roll off his back: "I'm fine, I just need a little more Vitamin D, that's all."
But sunshine wasn't enough to stop Lemon's greenness from spreading. In a few days, everyone had noticed – and they began to talk. "I know he's been hanging out with the Veggies recently," Apple said to Peach as they watched Lemon roll slowly from one side of the basket to the other. "Maybe the broccoli has been rubbing off on him a little too much?"
Lemon's friends tried to cheer him up and get his yellow back, but they couldn't figure out the root problem. Lemon was looking darker and darker every day, and everyone was worried.
"Is he rotting?" a little grape asked.
The response was uncertain and hushed. "He's sick, honey. Tired maybe... maybe more."
Two weeks after Lemon's hue had begun to darken, Radish got thrown in with the fruits.
"Are you an avocado?" Radish asked, unaware of the gradual pigmented depression Lemon had found himself in. She based her question solely on that which could be observed: the once yellow Lemon was now a very deep blueish-greyish-green colour.
"I'm a lemon," said Lemon.
Radish furrowed her eyebrows. "What has happened to your sunshine?"
Lemon sighed heavily, brimming with tears. The dimples that had once served to highlight his cheer now seemed to emphasize the depth of his creases and the weight in his eyes. "I've lost it," Lemon confessed. "It's been gone for a terribly long time."
"Well then," said Radish, gently, "I will help you find it again."
Radish listened while Lemon opened up. He spoke of the wear his friends had on him at times, and he recalled moments of frustration and fatigue often suppressed in order to serve his bubbly social role. He confided in Radish for a long time while she said nothing with neither smile nor tear. She simply listened.
Little by little, Lemon's grey lightened, the blue faded, and the green disappeared. Little by little, Lemon was yellowing. When he had explained everything he'd been keeping to himself, and all that pressure had been released, he laughed. Radish looked pleased, but also different, somehow.
Before Lemon had a chance to inquire, Radish nodded quietly and tipped her head to one side. "Did you know," she began, as though it were a question, "that colours are contagious? They have an amazing quality about them that is transferable – blues and yellows and even pinks – they can be passed on or pulled in by others. You've gotten much yellow back, and I've got some of that now too! But I also took on a bit of your blue and a little green, to help you get rid of it. So that's why I look a little odd – I'm brighter, but also darker than when I arrived here. More the colouring of an unusually ripe apple than a radish, you might say."
"But I don't want you to be blue or green!" Lemon cried, obviously distressed.
Radish smiled. "It's okay Lem. It's what friends do. We share the good and the bad, the blue and the yellow. We trade off and balance out and complement. It's our design."
Lemon gave Radish a hug. If this act seems impossible, consider that a radish is rarely a radish in such tales, and such tales are rarely told with the simple intention of entertainment. Rather, they often come prepared with an applicable punch:
When life gives you Lemons, be the Lemon's aide.