“Millie, stop that!”
She always yells at me in whispers when we’re at the store.
“I’m so bored.” I hate grocery shopping.
“We’re almost done sweetheart.”
I look up at the pile of groceries moving slowly.
“Not likely.” I say quietly so mom won’t hear me. “Can’t I just go –”
I don’t remember what I was going to say, because in front of me is the most beautiful color of pink I’ve ever seen! Just like Barbie pink.
I don’t know what it is, but it’s pink. I stand on my tippy-toes to get a better look at what it is. I see a swirl of green. Such a pretty green.
Mom doesn’t see me as I reach across the mounds of stuff we are buying and pull a small box off the shelf.
I run my fingers across the plastic before I realize what it is. I’ve seen this package in my mom’s purse, only she’s never had pink before.
“What honey?” My mom turns to look at me. As soon as she sees what’s in my hand, she starts to shake her head.
“Oh please, Momma, please?” My mom is still shaking her head. “I have money from my allowance. Please, I’ll pay for it with my own money.” I’m jumping up and down. The cashier stops moving to watch me. I stick my tongue out at him when my mom isn’t looking.
She takes a deep breath and makes a funny face at the gum.
“Ok, if you really want it…”
“Thank you mommy.” I hand the gum to the man and watch as it beeps across the screen. I’ll have no money left, but I don’t care. It’s the prettiest color pink I’ve ever seen. And I like the green too.
I hold the gum with both hands as we walk to the car. Mom says I can’t have any until I get home, and then I have to sit at the kitchen table and chew it. I don’t care, it’ll be worth it.
Finally! It’s time. I tear off the plastic and throw it to the side. Slowly I open the pretty pink package. I pull out a powdery piece of green gum and slip it in my mouth. I close my eyes, knowing I’m going to love the taste. How could I not?
I chew as fast as I can, excited to find out what my gum will taste like. What will it be? Strawberry? Watermelon? Actually, the gum was green, so maybe apple?
Slowly, I stop chewing. I’m not smiling anymore, and my mouth hurts.
“Honey?” My mom asks. “What’s wrong?”
“It’s…” I can’t think of the word. “It’s…” What is the word? “It’s…disgusting! What is it?” I spit the sticky wad into my hand.
“Well, it’s Green Bean Gum. See the green here on the package?”
“What?” I start to cry. “No one told me it was Green Bean Gum!” I sniff. “I really need to learn to read!”
This was such a cute story, I had so much fun illustrating it. It took me quite a while to get the face of the little girl to look right. I never knew it could be such a challenge to make a face look disgusted!