Now, there are these peas, these little round capsules that supposedly make your extra skin fall off with one bite. I bought a package of them once. No particular reason. My father told me they would make an excellent ice pack and come to think of it, they did. I haven't moved my furniture since, so the package is still buried way back in the dark, frostbitten region of my fridge. Sometimes I see it when I reorganize the freezer; I used to feel bad for the peas, alone and friendless next to the ice maker switch. They would cry out for attention every time I'd need a midnight snack of ice cream and wave their little pea-hands eagerly, yelling "Pick me! Pick me!" every time I'd actually cook dinner. It was when the peas started talking to me that I moved an old box of chicken breasts to cover them up. Silence, even for the slightly crazy (and hungry), is golden.
There's a guy standing next to me one case over. Thirtyish, cute. No kids, no wife. I flick a quick glance to his cart: a lot of vegetables not found in this section, many with names I can't even pronounce. Either cooking for a girlfriend or boyfriend, and thus tragically unavailable. The woman down the row has half a cart filled with ice cream tubs; I immediately want to be her friend. Not on the basis I want to eat her food (I do have a little restraint, thank you), but I wonder why the heck one needs twelve cartons of Rocky Road and one pistachio. Does it make me a little creepy if I think about things like that? Dear God, I am turning into one of those internet-bred weirdos...and it's all those damn peas' fault.
Thirtyish has obviously been reading my thoughts for the past few minutes and has now moved to the furthest point away from me where he can still remain in the aisle. That's the only logical explanation I have for his moving from frozen squash to prepackaged waffles in mere seconds. Unless, of course, he's one of those health freaks who eat vegetables for breakfast. Which in that case, we definitely don't have a future together.
Who freezes peas anyway? I was always told the best produce was the fresh kind. Obviously, if you're eating frozen stuff then you don't care about nutrition, otherwise you'd have bought the fresh stuff in the first place. Or, you'd have grown your own organic peas in your backyard. Big huge vitamin-charged peapods, the size Anne Geddes uses to stuff babies in to take pictures. Clearly, a health freak would have chosen that route, and would not be in Kroger's studying the squash with such aplomb it makes my head hurt. And then he most certainly would not have jetted off to the breakfast food section and put frozen whole grain waffles in his cart. Instead, he'd have made them from scratch in his little country kitchen after spending a fabulous night out with his gorgeous (if not slightly overweight) wife.
This scrawny rail of a blonde teeters her way in front of me, not even bothering to say excuse me as she opens the door to snatch her--no, wait-- my bag of peas.
"Excuse me," I say. "Those are my peas. Get your own."
Sarah Jessica Paris Lohan squints up at me like she is Moses to my Mount Sinai. "Wha-?"
"Get your own peas," I repeat, having the daring aplomb to actually snatch the peas out of her size -27 hands. "And eat a sandwich for Chrissakes."
A minor victory: I finally walk out of the frozen foods, my peas under one arm like a linebacker plowing through a pack of pixies. Thirtyish watches me leave and march to the checkout line: clearly, he wants me. Needs me. Wants to share his squash and whole-grain waffles every morning until we die and are buried in our matching whittled coffins.
I hand my card to the cashier and flick a glance at Thirtyish. Waffles in cart, he's now studying the ice cream case. The woman with twelve tubs flicks glances at him occasionally: Back off, sister. His homemade waffles and my frozen peas were meant to be. There's no room for pistachio ice cream—well, your pistachio ice cream—in this timeless love affair. Rhett and Scarlett didn't have Mammy poking around with chocolate chips, and neither will we. She asks him a question, and I'm thisclose to darting over there and standing in front of the Hagan-Daaz when my cashier hands me my card and receipt. To my immense relief, he mutters an answer and moves away, back towards the frozen peas section I had vacated moments earlier. Soul mates.
Getting him to recognize this is my only remaining obstacle. I pause and take a final look in the store, my hands wrapping protectively around my new possession. I'll work out the details later tonight when I come back: I'll have a package of peas to return.