I don’t know if I would’ve found you if I didn’t have so many things to carry. I shoved the Trader Joe’s receipt in my pocket, walked out with grocery bags bearing me down. So much stuff. Back home I pulled the thin paper from my jeans to make sure I used the right credit card, and you came flopping out.
You’re tiny, a wee piece of Trident. You’re fragrant, a sweet bubblegum smell reminding me of the third grade. You’re smushed, no longer a perfect rectangle but a blob really, barely covered by the branded paper surrounding you.
And I wonder. Are things so discardable to me that I forget you were tucked in my clothes? How many wash cycles have you endured? And am I that person now, someone who will just go and buy more of whatever, without a second thought of what I already have? Someone who just keeps wanting more? How much can you possibly cost, little candy? Cents, I imagine, but you sticky thing, I have lastima for you.
Because there are people out there who only read about gum, and they wish for a solitary stick. Because there are people out there who aren’t even allowed to read. Because there are people out there living without all this excess and convenience and consumption. Because even though you’re teeny and cheap, you’re an opportunity for me to have gratitude. A thank-you I could chew on over and over again.
p.s. I ate it. I blew a bubble. Life is good.