Peanut butter was always sticky. Smooth and creamy, yet when left alone after a few hours, a crusty brown streak on the gingham tablecloth. It had chunks sometimes, large and small chunks that got stuck between teeth, but that was the obvious difference in smooth and chunky, wasn't it? Peanut butter always went well with jam. Or was it jam and peanut butter? Somehow too dry without the jam, yet too sweet without the peanut butter.
It just...didn't work. They completed each other, to the maximum. Filling and satisfying. Full and sated. The creamy texture that spreads, combined with the sweetest, cool gelatin. Soul mates I guess you could say. But that was the beauty of it wasn't it?
When everyday he would come to see her, hidden by the foliage, peering out shyly as he took in her ecstatic look as she rode, higher and higher, gaining momentum as she soared towards the air. But then she plummeted.
Falling right to the ground.
He could only watch wide eyed. She screamed, her expression was similar to the one of ecstasy only without the adrenaline pump and pleasure coursing through her small body. He shook like a leaf, watching as her mother ran to pick her up and straighten out the pretty pink dress, now soiled and brown. She screamed, loud and throaty as her arm was unpinned from the weight of her body.
Then the swing was still, hanging from the chains as if nothing had happened.
He stood up, finally revealing himself, but it was too late she was gone. The red and orange lights danced, stretched right across the tarmac. The huge sea of asphalt separating the houses from each other, was white striped islands that laced the equator of the vast, vast gray sea. One knew just how foolish it would be to get to those islands, much less the house on the other side. But that was all that really was wasn't it? The house across the road. There was always that secret thrill, of dipping your finger into the jar, drawing out the sweet, sticky paste, licking your finger till you had no more left. That tantalizing first taste, but it never tasted the same after the first lick. But the guilt never left, the jar wide open, with a gaping finger sized hole dab smack in the middle, and the cupboard high up that was propped open by a rolling pin.
But everyone knows peanut butter doesn't taste right, unless you have the jam.
Maybe peanut butter was the glue of the sandwich and the strawberry flavoured jam the filling. Maybe peanut butter didn't really count as the counteractive ingredient, just made to hold things together and nothing else. Rather like men really.
If he was the peanut butter, she was the jam. The sweet, sugary filling. Cool to the tongue and complementing the soft, wheat, white bread. Peanut butter was just too plain in front of the presence of saccharine Jam. Too scared to say anything, to make one move. But as different and obscure ingredients, they went well together. Jam was always getting herself in a sticky mess, and Peanut butter was always there for her. He was too reliable, too predictable and Jam used it to her advantage. Not that Peanut butter was stupid enough to not notice, he knew and understood. The only way they formed a bond, the only way they were noticed and acknowledged. Perhaps Peanut butter was stupid. Stupid with love and admiration.
Then came that time when they were old enough, mature enough to make that venture across the daunting gray ocean. But it wasn't that wide as Peanut butter remembered, he mused to himself as he walked up the driveway to Jam's house. Was it really only ten feet wide? It seemed like ten leagues back then- when Peanut butter was chunky, and Jam was saccharine.
His hand was poised at the doorbell. Now or never wasn't it? Heart thudding, blood rushed all around, roaring and screaming. He missed his chance before, he wasn't going to miss her again. She wasn't going to disappear from him ever. But then, his hand dropped. He couldn't. They were closer than ever, counting on each other much of the time but he was much too plain for the popular Jam. He turned on heel dropping the note he crushed in his palm on the driveway. The journey back was easy, but somehow the spirit was dampened by the lack of committed fulfillment.
Peanut butter and Jam were among one of the classics, and soon even the shy Peanut butter was being noticed by popular ingredients. Smooth Butter immediately took a liking to Peanut butter, but then again Butter liked everyone, and everyone liked Butter. They noticed him alright, but somehow they all kept their distance. Peanut butter just wasn't compatible with everyone. He was picky with who he was selected with, and often it just didn't feel right. Nothing felt more right than Jam, herself.
Then there was that time when he really felt they were one. Jam tasted amazing, like strawberries. A flavour he realized, was just so Jam. She was beautiful, and he was nothing. Nothing in comparison to her and she made sure he knew that.
But Jam was soon bored. The typical outing just weren't satiable enough. Her words exactly. Jam was changing. And he noticed with a pang, she didn't taste so saccharine anymore. It hurt alright. If they were meant to be together why did he feel like he was falling apart, like he wasn't himself without her?
Much to Peanut butter's dismay and alarm, he found himself locked in the top shelf, gathering dust as he watched with sorrow, his Jam flirting and looking good with the others. She was just so perfect he noted. She looked so good with Butter, that traitor, slipping and sliding sinfully beneath him. She even took a daring chance with the older and mature Whole Grain bread. Long gone were the days when Peanut butter was placed with the regular condiments, where the rim of the jar was always spotless, cleaned away meticulously by a earnest finger. Now distanced among with Marmite, he felt more lonelier than ever. The peanut butter wasn't touched, it's surface smooth like it had never been opened. He missed Jam so much and he felt like he was on the brink of dying.
It was as if, being away from Jam had matured Peanut butter. He was smooth now, charming and a lot more compatible with was that time, of course, when he took a daring step with Chocolate. She was sweet and caring, malleable and very understanding. For awhile after being with her, he began to trust her. But never as much as Jam. He could sense Jam watching him furtively out of the corner of her eye, but she never said anything.
The huge embark across the road was nothing now. But it was rare to go back to her house. After the last time Peanut butter didn't go back to rectify his cowardliness, instead he chose to sneak looks through the curtain from his bedroom. He never knew why though, when he saw the others in her room, fooling around, it felt like there was no oxygen, and it was slowly crushing his heart. But he liked knowing where Jam was, just in case, he always reassured himself. There were those certain times he enjoyed perversely. He knew he shouldn't, but he couldn't stop himself, she was just so captivating and sensual. She would undress in front of the her window, stripping in front of the mirror in her room, and damnit, she was beautiful. He watched in rapture, face flushed with guilt and lust till she drew the curtains with one hand, slowly and sleepily. After that he would come to his senses and berate himself angrily. He shouldn't violate Jam in anyway, it was just wrong and he had to respect her privacy. But he grew bright red as a disturbing thought entered his mind, distracting him from his self-scolding conscious.
He told himself, every night, he wouldn't do it. But it wouldn't hurt just one last time right? So he gave in and snuck a peek through his bedroom window. It was the same routine every night and soon he was there, not exactly hiding behind his shelter, the curtain, it was around that time when he realized that Jam must known he was there every night. She knew it, and she put on a show every single time. And every single time, he would stand up and leave, feeling hot, flustered and tight.
Oh yes, he had Chocolate, but no matter how smooth and creamy she was, the combination was too rich. They continued to see each other, but each knew how much they were drifting apart each time. Chocolate knew that Peanut butter missed Jam, she knew it more than he did. His eyes glazed over and he would unintentionally ignore her. She sighed with a sad smile and stirred some sugar into her tea.
He slid into the seat in front of her fiddled with the loose fraying threads on his jeans. He took her in, her soft curves, gentle face and much too brown warm eyes. He shook his head unconsciously. He couldn't lead her on anymore, it was just wrong and cruel. Jam could have, and would have done it, but he wasn't Jam and Jam herself was cruel enough. Knowing and playing around with everyone. Peanut butter gently reached out for her hand and she accepted it, looking at him with a small smile. She cut him off before he could say anything. She didn't have to say anything, her warm, understanding eyes and pained smile said everything for him. He stood up suddenly, he wanted to apologize but he couldn't summon the words to his larynx. His throat felt tight and full as he turned and opened the door from the cafe and then he started running.
Chocolate smiled briefly, his soft touch still lingering on her hand, she turned to the window and sipped at her tea, a single tear slipping down her cheek.
Peanut butter felt just as cowardly as he felt that day when he saw her fall and break her small, fragile arm. When he simply stood by, unhelpful and when he finally came to his senses she was gone. He had never ever felt so awful. So maybe Jam had hurt him every time then why did he come back for more? Because they belonged together. He skidded to a stop, in front of a house he knew so well. He knocked, once twice, thrice. Then opened the door, almost falling backwards in surprise as he realized it actually was open. There was no time for being the shy, supporting backbone for Jam today. He was going to get her back from Butter. He stalled, in the hallway, feeling increasingly stupid as time dragged minutes from the seconds that ticked by. He swallowed and forced himself to go up the stairs he knew lead to her room.
The door was slightly ajar, and the room itself darkened by the curtains that had been drawn. A sense of light headiness filled him. The scent of Jam was so intoxicating and he felt drunk on it. He pushed the door open and saw that Jam was curled up on her bed saline droplets soaking the bed sheets.
She looked up then looked away. She knew how she had treated Peanut butter and if the guilt didn't feel bad then, it certainly made itself comfortable in her presence now. Why she walked all over him, she had no idea. But why did he let her? He was strong she knew that ..then why? She missed him she admitted, and it made her fist curl whenever she saw him with Chocolate. Peanut butter was always there for her unlike Butter, when she got trashed he was there with a blanket, some ice and aspirin where with Butter he laughed and fed her some more vodka, leaving her with the worst hangover every time. Peanut butter was quiet and calm. He was everything Butter was not. Butter was slick and smooth, always smiling. Ranging from sweet to salty in a matter of seconds, he was so unpredictable unlike Peanut butter.
Jam grinned through her tears, and Peanut butter smiled back.
Saccharine Jam was back.
He would always be there for her. She couldn't live without him. Peanut butter and Jam were destined for each other. He would be with here through the thick and thin. He was smooth and creamy as ever she noticed. She was sweet and refreshing as he always remembered. No, peanut butter was not the unnoticed filling holding the sandwich together. Peanut butter was the counteractive ingredient that challenged Jam and kept her sane and under-control. They belonged together, they were soul mates.
Peanut butter was nothing without Jam, and Jam was nothing without Peanut butter.