Cereal No. 9

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

(1 Corinthians 13:7 ESV)



The bag of M&Ms sat on the bench seat between her and her mother, while they drove to Kansas City. When she was a little girl, her mother always let her buy a candy at the grocery checkout. It was a small luxury allowed by an exacting woman. Besides, the mother was pleased that the little girl chose the M&Ms, for they were also her favorite. But the girl never knew because they didn’t talk about favorites. They talked about education, after school chores and curfew. For the most part, she followed the rules of the household to keep the peace. Except for this recent runaway business.

And her condition, that’s what her mother called the baby, opened up conversations she never expected to have with her mother. Her condition led to the unexpected gift of M&Ms, a sort of peace offering, she supposed. She was relieved when her mother suggested a change of scenery. Obviously, her scheme of hopping a train, and making a new life for her and the baby was short lived. She didn’t want to admit it to her mother, but living outdoors, and being by herself was lonely. Before she never minded being alone. But now that a second life grew within her fifteen year old self, she was scared of being alone.

She was brave when she burned down the fort, but facing the policeman and the hospital people, and eventually her mother, drained all her courage. She felt like she was shrinking inside, instead of expanding like a normal pregnant person. She reached over to touch the candy package. She wanted to sort the candies by color, the way she always did, then she’d eat the green ones first to get the grossness of green over with. For some odd reason, she hated the color green. Then she’d eat the dark brown ones, followed by the yellows and then the reds, saving the tans for last. As a little girl, she pretended the tan ones tasted like caramel covered chocolate. Now, she believed they all tasted the same no matter what color you ate first or last. How did her mother convince her this was the best option?

The option to go live in a home with other girls in her situation seemed reasonable a couple days ago. Some days she felt like the adults in her life knew best, but most of the time she lacked any confidence in their ability to truly love. Maybe this home in Kansas City knew how to love her and her baby. She picked up the M&Ms, tore open one end and poured the unsorted candies into her mouth, chewing as many at once as she could, until she emptied the bag.

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