I only like Spearmint gum. I hate that nasty Waltzing Watermelon Bubblicious shit. I may as well be chewing on pure sugar cane. I want my gum to taste fresh, to refresh, as if I just brushed my teeth, the way the commercials promise. To give me the confidence to smile, to speak, to get close. But I only like Spearmint gum because Cinnamon is too spicy and Peppermint is too intense. The way the red beads attack my tongue, like I’m being stabbed by a relentlessly sucked on candy cane. It’s too much, so in your face, so present.
I only like Spearmint gum, but you don’t know this yet. It’s only our third date, and gum preference is not one of the topics we’ve covered. We are at the rose garden in Golden Gate Park, and we now know each other’s favorite rose colors. Yours is yellow, which scares me a little because if I recall correctly, a yellow rose symbolizes friendship. And friendship is not really what I’m after. My favorite rose is the one that looks like a flame. The outside a light peach with neon orange bursting forth from the inside, almost out of the lines. I don’t know what liking this type of rose says about me. Maybe it means I want to reach for your hand and hold it and hold it and hold it.
You offer me a piece of gum. It is peppermint. I accept it. We chew quietly. My tongue squirms under the weight of the bite-y mint. I turn to you to see you. You turn to me and kiss me. Your warm hands melt into my red cheeks. We are both still holding on to the wads of chewing gum in the corners of our mouths because there wasn’t time to negotiate their disposal. Your mouth, full of lingering peppermint meets mine again and again. Your wet warmth transforms the flavor into something that is like nothing I’ve ever tasted.
The roses around us are opening and overlapping. And so are we.