I’m sorry I bought the last box of dark chocolate covered caramels
I’m sorry lady, but it was I who bought the last box of dark chocolate covered caramels at Trader Joe’s. Okay — fine. I bought the last two boxes.
How selfish, I know. Compassionless, greedy. I allowed my overwhelming feelings of frustration and exhaustion to place my own needs before yours.
Did I mention how horrible my day was? I was awoken to my husband’s snores an hour before my alarm clock would have forced me out of bed, traffic was horrendous, and my students were obnoxious and insubordinate today. Worst of all, it took me twenty minutes to find a parking space. All the wealthy stay-at-home-moms’ hulking SUVs wolfishly claimed one and a half spaces, so where is a 2001 Ford Taurus supposed to seek refuge? My parking lot tribulation only added to my craving for the hard, salty dark chocolate shell and sweet, gooey, caramel inside of Trader Joe’s delectable morsels. My reptilian brain led me to look left, right, and swipe the last two boxes from the shelf.
Hot guilt and shame engulfed my pulsing body, mixing with saliva collecting in my mouth as I fled the sweets aisle. Impatience spread across my face as the cute, blonde cashier smiled, “Only the essentials, huh?” as he rung up the two boxes of dark chocolate covered caramels and a bottle of all-natural dish soap (with essential oils). He began to tell me about his day, how excruciatingly long it was: he woke up eleven a.m. and not only had to go to “class” but also had to work this shift. I felt no sympathy for him — that was not a horrible enough day to warrant binging on Our Savior, the Dark Chocolate Covered Caramels. Finally, he handed me my paper bag and I skittered out the doors, brushing past you as you entered the store.
Your hair was flat and greasy; your eyes carried a deep-buried sorrow. As your lanyard swung around your neck, I saw a reflection of myself. Two marmoset-looking children hung on your arms, demanding attention and grabbing at the store’s welcoming selection of flowers. Your shopping list was long and handwritten, serving your husband’s and children’s wants before your own. You carried a tote bag filled with papers you’ll spend all of Sunday grading. Your phone rang and the shrill voice of your mother-in-law incoherently demanded you drive over and shovel her walkway.
And just as the doors shut, I heard you instruct your monkeys to go to the sweets aisle, pick out one item they wanted, and you emphasized, “And grab a box of the dark chocolate covered caramels for Mommy.”
It was in that moment that I knew I had done something immoral.
It was Friday, the end of a long, draining week teaching someone else’s brats, drowning in paperwork and household chores, caring for your husband, children, and senile parents. You looked forward to Friday at 3:30pm just as much as I did: it meant freedom, sleeping in tomorrow morning, and — most coveted — Trader Joe’s dark chocolate covered caramels, which you would devour in one sitting later that night while watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix.
But I stole that from you. Since Monday, you’ve been waiting for this moment, and you’ve eaten enough broccoli and bone broth to reward yourself in the Trader Joe’s sweets aisle. When your weary body arrives at the empty shelf, you will drown in hopelessness.
As I rev my Taurus’s engine, glide past more shiny SUVs, I see your skulking body emerge from the automatic doors, your hands empty. As I turn toward the parking lot exit, your eyes meet mine and my hand drifts down to the second box of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate covered caramels. I look ahead and slyly pop a morsel into my mouth, leaving you with chocolate covered almonds and flourless brownies.