Dearest Milk Duds,
I am so sorry. I must be honest and say I hardly remember you.
It’s not that I don’t want to. In fact, I was so thrilled when the thought of you burst onto the raggedy canvas that is my mind at 3:30pm on a stressful Tuesday. The image of you arrived in full: your perfectly proportioned movie theatre-style orange box, rattling with the heavy weight of what must be a thousand chocolate-coated caramels being tossed around inside. In that moment of sweet anticipation, I knew you would be mine. I could picture you, tucked snugly in your larger box with your fellow orange-suited brethren, in the candy aisle of the Safeway only three blocks from my apartment.
I grabbed my keys and heard the echo of the apartment door slam behind me. Taking the elevator down to the street, my mouth began to water. Yes—yes!—you are a worthy treat whose high sugar content will surely be a match for the work-related anxiety coursing through my body and mind.
For one terrifying moment, I thought I might have missed my chance to be with you when I turned into aisle 7 and didn’t immediately see you. My eyes frantically scanned the shelves for your familiar Halloweenish hue (I must admit, I paused a moment to consider your overly-opinionated rival Junior Mints before cursing to myself, “Dammit, Junior Mints are for celebration not angst!”).
When I finally found you, I breathed a sigh of relief. I was like a weary traveler lost in the desert, parched under the heat of a blazing sun, who has come across a shimmering oasis. You are my oasis in this shit-desert that is the two weeks before the end of the fiscal year when all of my reports are due.
I took you home. I returned to my apartment, kicked off my shoes, hung up my keys, and made my first terrible mistake. I brought you to my desk and opened my laptop before gently sliding my finger to release your lightly-glued top flap.
I regret to say I do not even remember the taste of the first Dud. You see, dear sweet high-glycemic friend, in the time I had been away from my desk, my boss had sent an urgent memo. I hardly noticed my hand dipping into the box, repeatedly excavating Dud after Dud, mechanically shuttling the tiny misshapen balls of goo to my mouth. My mind was focused on the news of a shake-up in the C-Suite.
The box must have been halfway empty when an instant message popped up on my screen from my colleague Lauren who wanted to know if I’d read the news. I mindlessly pushed a Dud to the side of my mouth—as if you were a mere grape rather than the luscious marvel of modern convenience food that you are!—and typed a hasty reply. Soon I was lost in a frivolous, gossipy back-and-forth with Lauren.
It wasn’t until I reached for another Dud and my hand, squeezed into the farthest corners of you, met the waxy bottom of the box that I realized what I had done. Surely this can’t be! I turned the box upside down, hoping that gravity would give me a reprieve and reveal one last chewy sugarball. But no. I turned the box again, this time to see with my own eyes. Perhaps a lone survivor was clinging to the side of the box, bound by a strong thread of thick caramel leaking from its own insides.
Again, no. The irrefutable truth settled in and a surge of disappointment rose up within me. I felt the near weightlessness of the once full box, and prepared myself for the wave of shame that I knew was coming. It hit me like…a post-sugar crash.
I know what I’ve done cannot be undone. I recognize this is not the first time I have failed you in this way. And I know it won’t be the last. I am sorry.
I miss you already.