Dearest Combo Meal,
How long has it been since I last saw you? How long has it been since I last smelled you? How long has it been since my lips touched your face? If only you possessed the anatomy to speak, I know the answer would be, “Too long.”
I remember, Dear, the first time I held you. My fingers caressed your top bun; my thumbs, your bottom. Your succulent, savory middle oozed; temptingly tantalizing. “Sense me,” your sesame seeds whispered. “Breathe me,” called your charbroiled meat. “Crush me,” cooed your shredded lettuce. “You’ll never need another,” the tomato slice promised. What your special sauce said, however, will stay between us forever.
“But don’t forget,” they all reprimanded, “Our friends sitting there, nearby.”
“I wouldn’t!” I promised. “I couldn’t!” I swore. To prove my word, I retrieved a golden spear. Tenderly, lovingly, I dipped it in light orange heaven. I ate. I savored the sauce, the salt, the crunch, and the piping-hot innards beneath.
Of course, my darling, we both know that was not all. Subtly, smugly, silently making table rings beneath its cup sat your final piece: a shake. If perfection was not achieved before that point, your frosted cylindrical container’s contents were there to oblige. What wondrous elements lay within? Ice cream? Fruit? Whipped cream? Yes! All those elements embraced each other in a swirl of frozen flavor, igniting passion as they froze my eager taste buds.
Surely, Dear, you recall that first time? Surely you felt the same as I.
Those thoughts crossed my mind, my mouth, my gastrointestinal system just this evening. For, unbeknownst to my resistant will, my errands took me past your residence. I smelled you before I saw the familiar neon sign: a mixture of flame, meat, oil, and Greek wallpaper. Your beefy goodness wafted through my air conditioning, beckoning to me like a cartoon smoke-finger.
“Remember…” whispered the scented smoke, as my mind fought a losing battle with my appetite.
“I do,” I replied. My children stared.
What could I do? Who could resist? Even my offspring knew the irresistible draw of your charms. They knew the indefinable pleasure of unwrapping your crinkling papers, retrieving your deep-fried goodness, and drinking your creamy richness.
I found myself turning the wheel, entering the parking lot. There, my jealous heart nearly failed. How many poor fools had you drawn in besides me? The line of cars stretched around the building; engines idling as stomachs rumbled. Nothing, save a fry sauce memory and the tick-ticking of the dinner clock, could have induced me to face you with such a voyeuristic crowd.
“Three junior burgers, three fries, three shakes,” I ordered, once we finally had our turn. How; when did I need a speaker-toned man to bring us together? When did we drift apart and become so formal?
My fingers drummed the dashboard as I waited. My anxious appetite watched eager hands take bags into vehicles before me. They stole you, my love, for under $10 apiece. My heart ached as my mouth salivated. Would you leave any there, for me?
Not soon enough, we arrived at the window. “$28.80,” droned our go-between. I paid. I reached through and accepted the proffered paper bags. I peeked inside. Your heavenly goodness clouded our car, enticing and embracing in one.
I looked at your minimum-wage deliverer, now sainted in my eyes. He met my gaze. As if to confirm his deific status, he added six golden words, “I put extra fry sauce in.”
I drive home, impatient. With literal bated breath, my love, we await our communion. If only there were not so many traffic lights ‘twixt your home and mine. Once there, as you know, we will finally be together again.
Until then, affectionately,
(Written for an assignment to address a love letter to an unusual love of ours, for my Pathways class.)
©2019 Chelsea Owens