I am sitting on the bench outside of the supermarket.
Today is my birthday.
My darling hubby and precious little angel have gone inside to buy a slice of happiness for today. It is supposed to be a surprise, so I am sitting here, watching the people as they pass.
I hoped they'd buy a chocolate cake. Last year, Mimi was too excited with the color and bought a blue cake. Well, the top was pink and the inside was blue. I didn’t think they made blue cakes in the bakery without a special order.
It tasted awful.
This memory brings a very blue taste to my mouth. It took a half-second to find the plastic container of tic-tac in my purse. It was half full and half-empty, until I shook one tiny white pellet of thoughtfulness into my hand.
Popping it in my mouth, I sat back and waited.
After blue, is purple, if I keep following the rainbow trail the next memory is strange. It is shopping for African Violet’s with hubby’s second step-mother. I called her the mother-of-the-month, because they changed so often.
This one was called Vivian and she bought a cartload of flowers to keep her company.
My tongue curled.
This memory tasted bittersweet.
My jaws clamp shut and I am barely aware of the bustling traffic around me. Carts and people are rushing past, the wind is blowing, the sun is shining and I am crunching tic-tac as I sit here on this bench.
After purple comes nothing.
There are too many memories of nothing. Places I went and left without feeling a single twinge inside of my heart. People I knew and dealt with for years, yet never felt more than nothing. My favorite phrase of reassurance to my soulmate, this is also a strange taste.
I automatically shook the container, and placed the candies in my mouth. I wanted to taste the mint, I wanted to remember something happier.
But the taste in my mouth is still bittersweet, because nothing exists as
Nothing is more bitter than sweet.
Sweets are my weakness. But it is easy enough to deal with. I need only to say I am hungry and I know that someone will find something suitable for me to snack on. Diabetes is a headache when I think of sweets.
Mostly because I want to eat cake and I know that the taste in my memory won’t be the taste in my mouth.
Something tasted sweet.
I rolled the taste around in my mouth and waited.
My imagination is working overtime. There are more memories and pairings to be made. There are many different tastes left to be enjoyed—or—endured.
Automatic glass doors slid open and the pattering of wooden-soled flip-flops announced my angel’s arrival. “Mommy, mommy!” Mimi thrust a receipt wrapped rectangle in my hand. “I gof oo a birfday pwesant.”
“Really, baby?” I held my hands out for the gift and pretended not to notice when my blushing husband interrupted to snatch away the receipt. “Ah, Tic-Tac! How did you know I was out?”
The curly-headed angel peered up at me from beneath sweat-dampened bangs. “Dat’s coz I ate ‘em.” She flashed her trademark grin and stretched up on tip-toe to blow a raspberry on my cheek. “haffy birfday, mommy! Shware?”
I handed over the empty container and watched her deposit it in the plastic garbage can. We walked to the car together, hand in hand, arm in arm. My head is still tangled in memory knots, but they are loosening as I am pulled into the present. Things are foggy and mysterious, but I don’t care.
For now, I am happy to eat cake with my name misspelled in blue frosting. I am happy to keep tic-tac in my purse for a little angel with a lisp. I am content, giving away the first bite of my cake to the handsome prince at my elbow, manning the digital camera. I am surrounded by bucketfuls of love and this is a memory I can taste.
Somewhere in the back of my mouth I could taste it.
It wasn’t awful.
It wasn’t nothing.
It wasn’t bittersweet.
It wasn't sweet.
Somehow, I think it tasted like mint.
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