Billy stood transfixed. Never in his young life had he seen anything like it. Rows of color from the floor to the ceiling, every hue in the visible spectrum represented. Yet as compelling as the outsides were, he knew that inside each box was every possible sugary confection available under the sun. He saw purple boxes filled with chocolate buttons, yellow boxes of hard gummy candy, pink boxes of melt-in-your-mouth mints, bags containing thin fibers of spun sugar and so much more down the long wooden rows. How to choose?
Carolyn had a bag of jelly beans in her hand already. "Come on, Billy. Mom's waiting for us. Just pick something."
How could she possibly choose in such a short time? Billy wondered. Didn't she need to weigh all the options, list the pros and cons of each choice, then make an informed decision? He just didn't see how he could properly obtain all the necessary information within the span of their allotted five minutes.
He heard a sigh. Oh no, he thought. When Carolyn gets impatient, she is a force to be reckoned with. Billy imagined that one day his sister would find a job where she was paid to tell others what to think and where to go, probably a politician or a correctional officer. Either way he knew he didn't want to be anywhere near that payroll. Since the day they were born, just moments apart, Carolyn had been the second mother he'd never wanted. One was plenty.
Carolyn's foot tapped on the carpeted floor next to him. Billy walked down the row, not only to absorb more of the amazing sight, but also to distance himself from the impatience she was beginning to exude.
A bright blue box caught his attention. Far above his head, he had to stand high on his tiptoes to reach it and even then he could only catch the edge of the box. Pushing it out of its corral, it fell into his hands where he turned it over to look at the front. "Oh, shoot. I thought it was something else," he muttered. He frowned and set it down, moving his gaze to the next shelf.
Scanning the colorful contents, he decided not to pick up anything else unless he was sure he'd like to buy it. He heard another sigh. along with a whiny, "Would you just choose a candy bar, please? It's not like you're marrying it, for heaven's sake."
He turned around and stuck his tongue out at her. This was a huge decision. How could she not understand that?
On the bottom shelf, he saw a bar full of chocolate, nuts, nougat and caramel -- the best of all worlds, in his estimation. Impulsively, he picked it up and put it in her hands. "Are you happy now?"
"Yes," she declared and they turned toward the cash register to stand in line, where even more choices awaited them.
He was good with the candy he'd picked, wasn't he? But what did we have here? Gumballs? He hadn't considered those. "I don't know. Maybe I should get bubble gum. It lasts longer. I thought I'd like chocolate, but maybe I won't. It's pretty warm outside. I hope the chocolate doesn't melt before we get home," he mused aloud. Carolyn ignored him.
The line moved quickly. The children laid their purchases on the old-fashioned wooden counter and waited to hear the total price. Carolyn handed the cashier the money before Billy could change his mind. As they walked out, she turned to Billy and said, "You took long enough in there. Mom's going to be waiting for sure." She handed him his candy bar as she opened up her own bag of jelly beans, tossing an assortment into her mouth and smiling.
Billy looked at the unwrapped bar in his hand, still unsure. "Maybe I should have gotten something with peanut butter."
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