For the past two months, I’ve been hung up on memories of my past. I’m referring, of course, to Boo Berry cereal. We haven’t been together in about 20 years, and yet I still long for a big bowl of berry, marshmallowy goodness. But it didn’t seem to exist any more. I’ve searched in every grocery store in a 50 mile radius, only to find them all lacking the great old monster cereals, like Frankenberry, Count Chocula and my particular obsession, Boo Berry. I had almost resigned myself to the fact that it was gone, a piece of my distant past that would never again grace my breakfast table. It was a loss that I could barely stand.
I was at my lowest point when, a few days ago, I found myself walking down the aisles of the Acme in Chestertown and there, in a special seasonal display, was a box of Boo Berry staring me in the face. I stood for a moment in stunned silence. This couldn’t be, it was too good to be true! Finally, I spoke, “Oh, Boo Berry, you’ve come back to me!” I snatched the box from the shelf, and as I stood in the aisle caressing its smooth sides, an old woman with an over-filled shopping cart passed by, swerving to avoid me while giving me an odd look. You’d think she’s never seen anyone finding a long-lost love before. But I didn’t care. If being in love with a breakfast cereal is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.
When I got home, I could hardly contain my desire, but I forced myself to take my time. I lit a few candles, and set up my best bowl, spoon and jug of cold milk. Then, finally, agonizingly, I took the box into my hands. Slowly, I pulled the top open, careful not to tear the edges, revealing the plastic underlining holding all the glorious pleasure I remembered. I opened the bag, feeling the loose cereal inside trembling from my anxious touch. As I poured a heaping amount into my bowl, the smell of berries and marshmallows overtook me, throwing my mind back to all the days of my youth, all of the happy memories of time spent in gastrointestinal ecstasy. When I gradually poured the milk over the tiny little blue cereal ghosts, hearing it crackle and moan, I could barely control my urge to dive in, unashamed of my feelings.
I dipped my spoon into the waiting bowl, stirring it slightly, before lifting the first bite to my lips. I took the spoonful in, slowly allowing my mouth to glide gracefully over the cool metal utensil, absorbing every drop. The flavor burst forth, with the cereal ghosts melting in the heat of my mouth, and the marshmallow ghosts, soft on the outside but firm and slightly crunchy in the middle, releasing their hidden treasures as I chewed. It was even more amazing than I recall. Bite after bite, I lost myself in the passion of the moment, until all of the cereal was gone, leaving only the blue-tinted milk in the bowl. I tipped it up, drinking deeply of the milk, with its residual blueberry flavor soaked into its core. Afterwards, I felt like I needed a smoke.
For the next few days, I enjoyed the pleasures of my newly returned love, having bowl after bowl until finally, inevitably, the box was empty. My sorrow at this was great. I could still smell the Boo Berry in the empty cardboard container, the scent swirling through my mind making me dizzy with need.
So I returned to that store, making my way to the aisle-end display where I had found it, hoping to catch a glimpse my Boo Berry again. But it wasn’t there. The other monster cereals were, but not my love. Just like that, as quickly and unexpectedly as Boo Berry had reentered my life, it was gone.
For a brief time, I was able to find something I thought was gone forever. Now, I’m alone again with only an empty box, the fading scent, and my memories. Thank you, Boo Berry. I’ll never forget you.