Broken and together. Twisted and straightened. Shattered and whole. Torn and glued.

I was the gum on the ground of the parking lot of Wal-Mart on that hectic Saturday. The chewed, almost hardened gum that was just sticky enough to let you know that I had been spit out only moments before, and just sticky enough to find a home in one of the crevices of your designer shoes that you had begged relentlessly for, as if it had been a life or death situation. Being only a used and abandoned wad of gum, I never really could grasp the difference between the two. Life and death, that is. Maybe if I had been born as something more useful, like a light bulb, the concept might have become clearer to me. Switch me on, and I'm alive; switch me off, and I'm dead. Switch me on and off one too many times, and I burn out without so much as a friendly warning. But no, being a light bulb never would have suited me well, because annoying me isn't something that would bring me to my end. You know that bursting out in anger never was my style. Instead, I bottled it in, holding onto it for dear life, or lack of it (whichever jaded feeling I felt at the occasion).

And then you'd have the nerve to go on and tell me I'm so far gone that I lived to lose, but honestly, what could that line possibly mean to me, of all people? I couldn't even fathom the fine line between living and dying, never mind spend my whole time doing the latter in one long longing to accomplish the inevitable. Of course, if I was in fact living to lose, at least I'd have had a purpose, a motive. And if my so-called way of life was so terrible and depressing as you made it out to be, would that make living to win the right thing to do? So, in other words, if I wasn't full of talent in some useless area of fundamentals, then that automatically made me worthless.

It was too late for me. It was too late to be anything but that lump of gum that was still stuck to your shoe, that same lump of gum that caused you to create pandemonium throughout your worn out house as you desperately tried every trick in the book to free my from my newfound home. Well, home is where your heart is, isn't it? And of course, my heart was obviously set on ruining your shoe. At least I had a heart, as dull and lifeless (or full of life?) as it was. You had no heart. Sure, you had a house; however, a house is not always a home, and therefore you heart had no place to reside, since you were homeless. The starving families on the streets were far from homeless. They're houseless. Don't get the two terms confused. Do you know what they'd give for a lousy pair of five dollar shoes from Wal-Mart? The same pair of shoes that you're grandmother bought for you as a "going-back-to-school" present last September, the duo that found a nice spot in the back of your walk-in closet under your old Girl Scout uniform. And do you know why they'd have appreciated them so much? Not because they were desperate, but because their hearts overcame their wishes. Their true needs overcame their desires.

I felt sorry for you, such a shallow person. And I had every right to. Besides, it's easier to point fingers at a fake and plastered smile than it was to deal with drowning myself. Anyway, I didn't have to put any effort into my own suffocation. My emotions took care of that quite sufficiently themselves, so that presented no problem.

Maybe someday you'll understand.

Maybe you never will.

I'll forgive you in advance if that will make you more comfortable. For now, you can just go out and buy a new pair of expensive shoes. I'm sure it'll solve all of your problems.

Perhaps, if you think of it on the way, you could drop off the old pair on that curb adjacent to Wal-Mart. I heard that a homeless teenage girl lives there, in that house. I also heard that she used to be a good, honest, and loyal friend... to you.

Maybe I'll see you then. I'll be waiting. Oh, and don't be alarmed by the mascara running down my face. It's a natural occurrence.