My babies. My precious little babies.
So many are the times I have turned away from you, embarrassed to have ever loved you, freshly resolved from the changing of years or a step on the scale to turn towards healthier options. Even as an occasional treat, you were too much. You were the one everyone knew was bad for me, the love which dare not speak its name, and I tried in vain to erase you from my emotional vocabulary. Our long interludes of distance were entirely against my own desires — I thought I was making a good choice.
Do you remember the sweet and sour? The ranch? I do.
But there is only so much time one can spend in denial, so long you can encounter your desire head-on and tell it “No.” I would be listlessly scrolling through my Tumblr dashboard (somehow this seemed to occur more frequently during my health-oriented 30-day challenge, though that very well may have been the distorted vision of desire) and I would come across a high-definition, extraordinarily flattering photo of you. A little bundle of crispy, golden joy in a delicate paper box, waiting to be consumed. “Hi, Chelsea,” you said, “We missed you.”
Oh, God, I missed you, too. We have known each other for so long — how many of my childhood successes were punctuated by a breathlessly giddy trip to the golden arches for a box of your misshapen deliciousness? My happiness as a kid was, in many ways, measured in chicken nuggets. There were times of unimaginable wealth, when my mother would go out of town for one reason or another and my overwhelmed father (who has only recently become capable in the kitchen) treated us to far more nuggies than we would ever normally be allowed. There were also vast expanses of drought, but I have chosen to forget them.
And the other day, when something quite good happened (something that I had been working a while for), my first response was to celebrate with a box of you. While in my adulthood I have begun opting for the celebratory bottle of champagne, as is standard procedure, there was something so purely happy about that afternoon that the only proper response was some McNuggets and fries — a treat I hadn’t allowed myself in some time.
You were just as good as I remembered you. Your sweet and sour, just as perfect a compliment to your profound, perfect greasiness. It was as though I had set my entire world to black-and-white for so long, only to have it returned fully to incredible technicolor with one crispy bite. It was everything I had hoped it could be, and heralded the same familiar taste of celebration that I had come to associate with your perfect little boot-shaped selves.
I missed you. Let our love never go unspoken again, for it is a weight which my very soul cannot bear. I love you.