Ode to a Dirty Peanut M&M
I need to share this story with you. I needed to share it with you a few weeks ago, and then life apricot season got in the way. I like junk food, but most of it, I can’t really handle. Flaming Hot Cheetos? That’s Ryan’s thing. I can barely deal with cream sauces. Richness doesn’t sit well with me, unless it’s disguised by a bucket of sugar. A lot of people I know; however, have a soft spot for M&M’s. And guess what? So do I! I adore them. I love that they sneak their way into “healthy” trail mixes and lunchboxes and yogurts, etc. I love how simple they are, how readily available they are. I’m still enraged that the Crispy variety was discontinued. Why!? I thought everyone loved those! I saw them in a huge bag at Charles de Gaulle when I was leaving Paris, and was so excited, but after a week of croissants aux amandes, I didn’t buy them, because I’m an idiot.
Well, here’s the story. I always end up purchasing a pack of plain M&M’s. This is mostly because usually, I am sharing with Ryan and he likes plain best. We buy them to sneak into movies and for plane rides and that’s really about it for us. I used to adore the Peanut Butter variety, and I still do, but I eat so much peanut butter these days that I’m less inclined to crave them.
Here’s the thing, though, people: what I always truly want is Peanut. All oversized and bumpy in their stuffy yellow pouch—oh! how they call out to me. And honestly, the real reason I don’t buy them is this: I’m a sucker for quantity. I choose the plain over the peanut because there are more plain candies in given pouch. And I hate myself for this, really, but once I developed the awesome habit of getting to eat M&M after M&M, the idea of getting to eat only half that amount seemed intolerable. And so, when Ryan and I were waiting in the terminal of MIA for our flight back to Los Angeles, I was doing my usual I-can’t-pick-a-treat-because-I’m-ridiculous-and-can’t-make-any-decisions-for-myself thing. Which means I was slowly picking up bags of candy, holding them, and then putting them back. Usually, I take a lap around the store between pick-ups, and repeat as necessary. I think I juggled Raisinettes—both the dark and milk chocolate varieties, plus a bag of jelly beans, a box of animal crackers, and the three aforementioned varieties of M&M’s during this particular adventure. After about seventeen minutes, at which time I was pretty sure Ryan was ready to kill me, I knew I had to choose. By the way, this is how most of my decisions are made, on that icky feeling of Ryan’s-gonna-kill-me. Anyway, I chose the pack of plain M&M’s. I did not want them. I wanted peanut, guys, I wanted peanut!
On the plane, we were in the fabulous exit row with lots of leg room, wiggling around in our seats, eating cheese cubes and watermelon and blackberries. Obviously, I couldn’t wait to get to my candy, and before I knew it, it was gone. The plain M&M’s were okay. They tasted about the same as they did on the plane ride to Miami just a few days prior. Then Ryan passed out while I made stellar progress on the American Way crossword puzzle.
That’s when I saw it. I think I was looking for a tissue or something and I looked down and there it was:
One bright, solitary peanut M&M, all plump and sweet and salty and dressed in orange. I looked to my right. I looked to my left. I looked back at the M&M. And I swear, it sang to me: c’mon, Lauren, you know you want me. Nobody has to know. Ryan is asleep. It’s not like I actually belong to anyone. I was forgotten, abandoned, dumped. Some kid in 8C probably let me roll away into the night during the traffic jam that was complimentary beverage service. You’ve been wanting me for months now, and here I am. I sat, stumped. I should just go back to my crossword, I knew. Sigh. In a few hours, I’d be back in California and I could buy more candy. Fresh candy, that hadn’t been rolling around a dirty airplane for hours, picking up all sorts of germs and fuzz and flecks.
I breathed. I breathed deep. And then I poked Ryan a few times, rousing him from his slumber. Here, in present tense, is what went down:
“What, what is it?” he asks, eyes half-open.
I point to the floor, sheepishly. “I want it!”
He laughs. He shakes his head, no.
“I’m going to need you to hold me accountable. I swear, I’m going to eating it. I’ve been staring at it for a few minutes now.”
He shrugs and laughs. I bashfully unwrap a reduced-fat cheese stick and take a bite. Suddenly, everything is right with the world again.
How anti-climatic. I know. I should have lied and told you I ate it.
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