Chocolate, dark chocolate, delicious chocolate, delectable chocolate, smooth, creamy chocolate, was the last item and only thing of real importance on my list of hodgepodge ephemera: comb, mechanical pencils, aluminum foil, AAA batteries, Ambesol, index cards. I added chocolate to the jumbled collection because I was so hungry my blood sugar was lower than my big toe and because chocolate makes me happy. So, so very happy.
My plummeting blood sugar aptly explains why I put it last instead of first.
At Walgreens -- one of my favorite places to buy ephemera -- my blood sugar plummeting lower than the underside of asphalt, I wandered without ambition, mildly hunting the items on my list; none of which was located remotely near any other item on the list. Pushing on regardless, my vision blurred. My thoughts thickened. My mission lost purpose and drive. Then the witches, ghouls and ghosts on the Halloween aisle cackled in round, startling me; sending me shakily shuffling to the register.
Placing an assortment of sundries on the counter, I noted with regret the absence of chocolate, dark chocolate, delicious chocolate, delectable chocolate, smooth, creamy chocolate. But I didn't have the strength to stop the check-out process to go find some.
That's when, out of the corner of my left eye, I spotted a vision of splendor: a display of rectangular, orange packages. Peanut butter cups, I thought, have chocolate coating. I turned my entire gaze on the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in a box next to the register. I couldn't help but rudely stare, my watering mouth hanging dumbly agape.
No, I shook myself out of it. That's not the chocolate I want. The cashier's hands efficiently scanned and bagged my miscellany. She kept a careful watch on me, however. She's probably seen weak-kneed, shifty-eyed types before. They're the nervous ones who pull a weapon and tell her to empty her register.
By now, my blood sugar was lower than hell. I glanced again at the temptation, telling myself, But it is chocolate. Then, No. Don't do it. I turned my head away. Those morsels were all I could think about. My blood sugar passed through hell and kept on going . . . to China. Get some chocolate, any chocolate, my stomach growled.
The cashier interrupted my internal struggle, saying, "Will that be all?"
I gandered at the peanut butter cups and chewed my lip trying to decide. Seeing me wrestling with her first question, she asked another. "Would you like to buy some Reese's cups for the Children's Hospital?"
Before she completed the sentence, I blurted, "Oh yes. I was trying to make up my mind and you just made it up for me. Thank you." I felt somewhat re-energized, even hopeful.
Anticipating the chocolate, delicious chocolate, delectable chocolate, smooth, creamy chocolate that I would soon lick off of peanut butter cups, I watched as she lifted an orange package from the box and dragged it across the scanner. I waited for her to slide it into my sack with the aluminum foil and Ambesol.
But her hand by-passed my bag and placed the Reese's package on top of her register. We exchanged awkward expressions; mine a desperate, hypo-glycemic, near-fainting one. She was playing tricks with my treat. My mouth opened and closed like a beached fish while she thanked me so much for my generous donation. My, I repeat, my candy bar will be delivered to patients at the Children's Hospital on Halloween.
Granted, I was delirious, but I think I heard the ghouls from the Halloween shelves cackle as I retreated with my chocolate-less bag of insignificant goodies.
Hunger is a spooky thing.
(It's a great time of year to think about donating to a charitable cause. Visit http://csra.spookytobehungry.org to volunteer or find an area canned-food donation site. To learn more about the MCG Children's Medical Center and how you can make a difference, visit http://www.mcghealth.org/DefaultCMC.aspx, or visit Walgreens and make a donation of your chocolate. As always, you can e-mail Lucy at firstname.lastname@example.org.)