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The opposite of a love story

Based on true events

5 years old

“I don’t want to eat it!”

“Just taste it, it’s chocolate, you like chocolate don’t you? It’ll be over in five minutes.”

I feel my throat closing up. This didn’t taste like chocolate and it felt weird in my mouth. I looked up at my mama and knew there was no getting out of it.

***

10 years old

I look at the bright cover, the promising words; I could almost taste the honey glaze, the crunchy nuttiness, standing right there in the breakfast isle.

“You can buy it if you want.”

I look up at my dad, my eyes bright with hope. “Really?”

“Sure, change is good, every once in a while.”

I feel my heart lifting as I pick the box off the shelf and put it in the shopping cart. This could be it, the thing I’ve been waiting for!

***

15 years old

“What’s that you’re eating?”

“Muesli,” I mumble.

“It looks like someone already ate it and threw it up again in your dish,” my brother says, making a face.

I feel my stomach turn. The thought I keep suppressing now voiced was impossible to deny. I don’t say anything, I force myself to finish my bowl and get up to get dressed.

The next day I announce I don’t want to eat cereal for breakfast anymore.

***

18 years old

“Seriously?”

“I’m telling you,” I say, “I haven’t had cereal in 3 years.”

“But why?”

“Eugh, I hate it, it gets all mushy and soft, it’s so gross,” I say, “I ate it every day for 10 years, never again.”

“But this one is so good, we used to eat it all the time as kids!”

I look at the curved shapes on the box, empty promises and false hope.

“I dunno…”

“Trust me,” she says, and pours the cereal into a bowl and covers it with milk, then pushes it towards me, then pours out a new one for herself.

It takes me an hour to finish the bowl. She times it.

***

Present day

I walk down the breakfast isle, words jumping out at me, ‘tasty’ and ‘light’ and ‘fruitful’. I ignore them all as I head towards the spreads.

Peanut butter and Nutella, that’s the stuff for me.