Dearest Rachel –
You know, I’m a trip to the supermarket really shouldn’t wreck me, especially not after all this time. And yet, here we are from time to time.
The thing is, I almost never went to Meier on my own. While I’m sure you went by yourself more often than not, I almost never went without you. In fact, on those occasional times when I did try to head out and go on my own, you insisted on coming with me. Now I wish I could remember those times better, but otherwise I’m grateful for your insistence. Because at this point, no matter how much time we spent together, it wouldn’t be enough for me.
It scares me, as I wander through those aisles on my own, but every day brings me further and further away from you on a temporal basis. Memories of the mundane crumble to dust, bit by bit, and are blown away by the winds of time. One day, perhaps not too long from now, I’ll forget what it was like to go shopping with you, as I get too used to dealing with things on my own.
On the other hand, maybe I’ll just be continually confronted with things like this:
I’m pretty sure you’d recognize what I’m looking at, even if it never existed in your lifetime. That is a pallet chock-full of 12-packs of Mountain Dew Baja Blast, both in regular and diet(!) varieties.
Oh, that you would have lived to see the day…
I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was the reason you loved Taco Bell so much, but it was certainly well up there. I also doubt it was the fact that the Bell was the only place you could’ve gotten it, but it didn’t hurt. Still, if you didn’t like the taste, you wouldn’t keep going back for more.
And you certainly did go back for more, all the time. More often than not, our Saturday morning post-afterglow breakfast runs included a stop-by for… well, you didn’t really seem to have a usual there. Oh, you favored the smaller breakfast burritos, but really, the large Baja Blast was essentially the closest thing you had to a “usual.”
I won’t say I didn’t understand the appeal, but I’ll readily admit that it didn’t call to me like it did to you. Like, you would have several of those large drink cups, half or two-thirds finished, sitting around on the dining room table, waiting for you to have the urge to polish them off, at any given time. Meanwhile, I would usually order a Kickstart Orange on those Saturday morning runs, have a few sips with breakfast, and save the bulk of it for the next morning when I was as likely to be working in the booth at church as not, and could use the caffeine. All of which meant that I would be done with whatever I ordered within twenty-four hours of doing so, rather than having a cup or two (or four) sitting around waiting to be finished.
But there’s more to it than Taco Bell. I know that occasionally you would see the 20-ounce bottles in a convenience store on our travels, and you’d make sure to get a couple of them – ostensibly one for you and one for Daniel. We still had a couple of bottles left over in the refrigerator before the accident that survive the purge. Granted, by the time I cracked one open, the stuff was well flat, but I guess that’s how you liked it, actually, given the cups you left sitting around.
Which, to be fair I could go along with, considering my preference for the Kickstart left in the fridge overnight. So you were probably onto something.
Anyway, that’s how things are. Even a quick run to the supermarket for dog food and bananas can get me started thinking about you. and at the same time, I find myself worrying about getting too used to being on my own. Not just the fact that I don’t like being on my own, but the fact that time and events are slowly wearing away at my memories of these kinds of ordinary activities that used to be the two of us. I even find myself conscious of the fact that I’m romanticizing these dull, mundane activities, now that I can never do them again with you. Have I overdone it? I really don’t know.
All I know is that I wish you were still here, and that we could go shopping together again. Because I certainly have no use for that case of Mountain Dew.