Helen has walked by the same M&M candy on the floor four times now. It is brown; at first she thought it was a rabbit turd. There are no rabbits in the house but her first reaction was not logical. Lately she has not thought about much in a rational way. A drop of something brown, small, and hard is not what you’d expect to see on your floor.
She hasn’t picked it up. It hasn’t moved. The birthday party from where it dropped was over 5 days ago. No one has swept, vacuumed, or stooped in those 5 days to deal with this. It is not so much of a problem: no one will wipe out stepping on it. The most it will be is a mess. In its sweet, hard-shelled state it is completely innocuous. It is more like a lamp shade than a puddle of water in that way.
Helen doesn’t know what to do with the brown M&M. She doesn’t want anything to change and moving the little drop may release a chaos, like the fluttering of butterfly wings.
Helen and John have been talking about moving for months now. John is mostly talking, Helen has tried to listen. It’s easier when she doesn’t have to be a part of some things.
John wants to move out. His life with Helen is not what he was expecting or hoped for. She remind him that he has to take responsibility for his own actions. She fusses and scolds and now John has taken her advice and is moving out.
Helen met John through a mutual friend. They were both new to the city and wanted more involvement in out community. They wanted to meet their neighbours. They both toured local artists’ shows, showed up for the opening of the community gardens plot, and were part of the neighbourhood’s organizing committee. Neither of them showed up for any of the meetings so they didn’t meet this way. Helen’s friend Allison had a community garden plot. John had never seen rosemary grown so big and asked her about it. Allison liked his interest, so she thought he might be interested in Helen as well. Allison thought both her rosemary and Helen were blossoming.
Their first date was at a coffee shop to see a local band play. John was in his element, but Helen found the music loud. She didn’t notice this at the time; she focused on John and assessed her reactions. Mostly she fiddled with her sweater, pulling the sleeves over her wrists and then pushing them back. She wore her favorite sweater as though it was an oracle that could predict their future. By the end of the evening Helen felt confident in her sweater and decided she liked John’s attention.
Two years later, two surprise birthday parties later, John has changed his mind. He wants to grow and move out of these tight circles. Helen is not sure if he means their relationship or the small apartment they rent but it has been a long time since she had a strong opinion about anything. She decides he means both and leaves it at that.
Helen finds John’s newspaper tucked under the cushion of the coach. He has circled several rental ads for larger apartments. He makes more money than Helen does. She knows he is not looking for them both.
She wonder how she could be so stupid, naive, disconnected. She trusts John, but then forgot to pay attention to herself. She laments that she forgot to say what she wanted.
Helen doesn’t know what she’ll do. This is a big change and not one she will absorb lightly. Looking back, it could be said that this was bound to happen. Or that it was months in the making. But nothing was really finalized and nothing really did change. For now, she’ll leave the M&M where it is.