In the check-out line at Dollar General, she reached for the last York Peppermint Patty on the shelf. She tested the freshness by giving the wrapper a slight bend. The chocolate was stale, and if she slammed it on the check-out counter, it probably wouldn't break. Disappointed, she returned it to its respective area. Sarah didn't know what to do. Should she choose another chocolatey snack? Nothing but the idea of a fresh York Pepperment Pattyappealed to her tastes. But! the silvery-blue wrapper of a Zero caught her eye. She'd never tried one of those. Out of time and at the front of the line, she went for it.
"These are my favorite," said the cashier. He seemed to scan the bar in slow motion, taking just an extra minute to hold the satisfying '60s-era-astronaut-food-packaging-esque wrapper. "So good."
"You know, you inspired me to get one too," said the man behind her who wore a Columbia Transit Authority uniform. "Haven't seen one-a-these for five, maybe 10 years! Boy are they good."
"Can't wait to try it," Sarah told them both. "Enjoy your candy bar," she called back to the CTA worker.
She walked slowly back to the office. Sarah didn't want to be inside. She imagined herself after work, walking at the park and reading a book in the sunshine. The warm weather had improved her mood greatly, and she felt that, in general, she was smiling more. The 70-degree afternoon made her nostalgic and happy. She was hit with the memory (an aerial view) of her eight-year-old self in overall shorts and a patterned bucket hat, wiping a thin film of sweat from her brow as she stood at the top of a very long, winding, plastic, tube slide.
Finally, back at her desk Sarah unwrapped the Zero. She bit into the white chocolate bar and was immediately astonished that she had never tried such a delicious treat prior to this moment. It tasted like an Oreo cookie, dipped in white chocolate, only creamier, nougaty-er, almondy-er. She ate slowly, savoring each bite.
"Why did no one tell me?" she wondered and gazed out the open window.