All I really wanted were the plantain chips. That was the reason my father and I were at Walmart in the first place. It was almost nine o clock on a Saturday night; my father had just gotten home from visiting my grandparents and he was ready to settle in his armchair for the night. Only... I didn't think that would be possible because to my knowledge it was still very illegal for me to drive alone and also I really, really wanted plantain chips. They were amazing and I couldn't have chocolate and I was having a rough week anyway. Who would begrudge a young person of their plantain chips? As I soon would figure out, my father would.
And thus begins the tale of the star crossed lovers who met once upon a time in a small town Walmart nestled in the woods beyond the highway. It wasn't all that romantic to say the least, considering the fact that the star crossed lovers were a large bag of dehydrated fruits and slight sugar deprived teenage girl.
Anyway, my father agreed to take me to the store to find the favored snack. I was elated! My father was irritated. The rest of my family was watching a movie so they didn't really care. I jumped into my old brown house shoes and then jumped into the car. My father started the van and we began our trek to Walmart. I appreciated the show of sacrifice my dear father showed towards me. I told him how much I would miss our late night trips to the store when I left for Minnesota in the summer. And then, when we got to the store, he found out that there was (wait for it) added sugar. He said, "You can't have these, go get the cashews."
"Nooo." I said, feeling the floor cave beneath me. "Please." He shook his head. I felt tears fill my eyes and then I laughed because it was ridiculous to cry about plantain chips. Bizarre. Absurd. And yet... totally happening. I swallowed hard, but it was too late. Tears slid down my face and I felt at once very deprived and very selfish. So I wasn't just crying because I didn't get what I wanted, I was also crying because it felt ungrateful to cry in the first place which made me feel guilty, causing me to cry more and laugh. It was a confusing time. Naturally, I told my father I was going to go cry in the bathroom, turned on my heels, and sped off, hoping no one from school saw me.
(Fun fact about small towns: Everyone sees you at Walmart, but only when you're in your pajamas, crying, acting like a lunatic, or preferably, all of the above.)
I escaped successfully to the bathroom and proceeded to cower in the third stall for approximately five minutes before coming out of the stall, washing my hands, blowing my nose, and exiting the bathroom. I couldn't stop sniffling and hiccuping, though, so this gave the impression that something very tragic had happened. For me, it was the tragedy equivalent of Romeo and Juliet. I hadn't felt so bad since watching Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Never Beast or the opening scene of Up. To make matters worse, my father was looking for me all around the aisles because he hadn't heard me when I said I was going to go cry in the bathroom. Well. Needless to say, he wasn't too thrilled that I had left, but I wasn't too thrilled about his snap decision making skills. So I crossed my arms and I glared at him the best I could until I saw someone I knew from school and they asked, "Are you laughing or crying?"
"I don't know." I told them, and then we were all at the checkout line where I could lean against the counter and breathe deeply, to reevaluate my feelings. They weren't logical, for one. For two, it was funny. For three, I would still be eating later. And for four, if I didn't stop crying someone else would see me and then I would be forever known as the Girl Who Was Seen Having a Mental Breakdown About Plantains At Walmart. So no. I pulled myself together (sort of) and grabbed the basket of cashews. I started for the parking lot with my father walking behind me.
He lifted another small bag into the air. It was another bag of fruits. Not plantains. He smiled into the night air and said, "They're dates." I didn't laugh. "You see, I got you a date for Saturday night." And then I started to laugh again, only it sounded a lot like crying, and it echoed all throughout the Walmart parking lot; the sad wailings of a forbidden romance, commemorated at Aisle Fourteen.