It all started at Trader Joe’s, where I desperately searched for my favorite non-allergenic mango sorbet, to no avail. I had been there three times in the last week, which only added fire to my enormous craving. Once I realized (and came to grips with the fact) that my sorbet may be discontinued, I ventured over to Rita’s.
Rita’s is a no-no for me. I pretended that it didn’t exist all summer. I would pass by it and close my eyes. It holds the same sentiment that I have for Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and, Lord have mercy, North Carolina’s infamous Cook-Out and their to-die-for milkshakes. With my severe skin allergies, I’m not allowed at any of those places. In fact, an alarm should go off when I breeze past. But in my quest to quench my craving, I did the unthinkable: I ventured to Rita’s, where I knew I had no business.
The creamy custard. The dairy. The sugar. The electric high. All things allergic. I went and bought my first strawberry gelato of the year.
I could barely get to my car without devouring it. I held the red-and-white cup like it was a newborn. The first spoonful was accompanied by an imaginary chorus in my head. Hallelujah! Oh, how the sugar jumped into my bloodstream, how the creamy custard gave me the comfort of a million hugs. I sunk into the seat of my car … and never drove off. Air conditioner on, shoes off, I ate until my stomach started to turn.
I got halfway through it. I was happy. I didn’t feel guilty. After all, I’m human. I’m a product of McDonald’s America. I can’t help it. I don’t care if I break out. I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care! I am fulfilling a food dream.
And then it happened. In my sugar-rushed state, I knocked my treasured, vintage cell phone into the half-filled cup of custard. It was almost beautiful. It was like she dove in, and was immediately immersed in the world of Rita’s.
Truth is, even my cell phone wanted a taste.
I didn’t panic. My phone is a G. I just took her apart. Syrup was everywhere. I dried her off and rushed home for a blow dryer. I dried her off again. I made a call. And amazingly, it went through! The cell phone with twenty-nine lives and seven summers still communicated, even after nose-diving into custard and sugar and ice. But then, problem. I could hear the other person, but the other person couldn’t hear me. I screamed, “Can you hear me now?” They could … but it sounded like I was on a spaceship.
“You might want to get a new phone,” crackled over the line.
That’s how it happened … how my fallen soldier finally retired. In the end, it was me, her number one supporter, who knocked her out of the game. It was me, in all my insane food cravings. It was my fault (and Rita’s). Some may say it was just a phone, but to me, she was a very good friend. I will miss the moments, the calls, the texts, the jokes. I bought my beautiful phone in Harlem, and will bury her in Charlotte.