I always thought that Forrest Gump guy was full of shit. You know exactly what you’re going to get in a box of chocolates. At least I always know.
Another Valentine’s Day and another horrifying, potentially embarrassing moment for me. Romantics get to express their love and here I sit, alone again. Across the nation, lovers everywhere exchange boxes of chocolates; each one, another reminder of my value and place in the world. Left behind, in a cardboard box by my lonesome.
Year in and year out, I know my February fate. The variables do not matter. New and improved ingredients! Shiny box! Individually wrapped or sliding around with the others, I am living in a Valentine’s Day Groundhog Day loop.
You may be the one on the other side, but you know how this goes. Excitement, jubilee (not the cherry kind), and a rush to dive in. The potential is off the charts, but unfortunately for me, our names are on the chart above our heads. For some of my friends, this can go a couple ways, but for me, it’s like recess kickball against the jocks. Again and again and again.
Maybe it builds character, but that’s not my purpose. No one ever wonders about Chocolate Peanut Cluster’s character! He never has to persevere or show his mettle because he gets scooped up every time.
You know who else always finds a date? Salted Caramel. That guy is a lady killer. Even Molasses Chew. Fucking Molasses Chew, so fast to be picked, so slow to… everything else.
Marshmallow is always in the first handful. And Nougat is never far behind him, both making sure to make eye contact on their way up and out.
People like to say there’s someone special for everyone, but I am the exception. Last year Almond Brittle, that disgusting, deformed mess, told me I shouldn’t even be in the same box as his crummy ass. That guy knows he’s the worst for people’s teeth and he BRAGS about it! “A real dentist’s nightmare,” he says. And he still was more popular than me.
I’ve heard it all by now. “Cherry, you’re the pits.” I’ve been called “Cough Syrup” and “the old maid,” and even Dark Chocolate Mint Square called me “dinglecherry” in 2014.
Even Coconut Patty and Toffee Crunch, the other constant losers, are selected eventually. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been burned by so-called friends who swear they’ll be my boys til the end. “The Crew before The Chew,” and “Dudes before foods,” they say. But then, there’s always someone who wants them.
We used to be real cherries, hand dipped in a dark chocolate. But we sacrificed for the almighty buck, and got some bad advice from our manager, Tommy Maraschino. From there it got worse. As other fruits foundtheir way into chocolates, we zagged when we should have zigged. We gave up the cherry altogether, and settling for a viscous cherry gel. They told us it was best for the team, but they didn’t tell us we were now partially Red Dye No. 2!
How do I know it’s like this everywhere? Well I’m from Russell Stover, but I’ve got a friend at Whitman and she says it’s the same over there. Also my cousins are abroad at Godiva and they sound just as miserable. Even my neighbor, who ended up at Kirkland, has identical horror stories.
My therapist says it’s not my fault. That there are all sorts of things outside of my control and I must learn to accept what I cannot change. She explained things like fad diets and pollen-fruit allergies and overhead costs. I try to remind myself that if I don’t love me, why would anyone else?
I’ve been working harder on that. And of being appreciative of the little things. My buddies, they aren’t just my competition, but my compliments. Chocolate Truffle and Maple Fudge offer things that I could never. And while they are in much greater demand, I remind myself that we are better as a whole than as a sum of our parts. The world needs wingmen too. A good mantra can take you a long way.
Alas, Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and all of my optimism is about to be tested IRL. I can only be the best version of myself, the rest is up to someone else. So I am asking, for me, my family, our reputation, and our future. Please allow me to re-introduce myself.
If you see me, give me a shot! My fate is in your hands!