Gus and the Fabulous Box of Junior Mints

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Charles slid a finger underneath the tab stamped, “open here”. As the box top popped open, the wondrous scent of mint and milk chocolate drifted in the air. The corners of his mouth curved into a little smile. Junior Mints; his favorite movie companion since the lost days of college. He sat before his 24-inch computer monitor, oblivious to the movie previews wrapping up, giving way to the title screen of ‘The Hobbit’. Instead, he peeked into that jumbo sized box of chocolate joy. By the light of the lamp set on the desk top, he saw a dozen dark chocolate discs winking by the soft glow of the lamp. His smile broadened.

All at once, Charles reflected on a memory; something deep; somewhere he hadn’t been in years; someone he hadn’t seen since the days of his old life. The mint chocolate scent bridged the gap between the here and now, and the time long past. He slowly glanced left, staring into the pale canvas of the matte white wall at the far end of the family study room. But the eyes of his mind began to form a picture from the past.

The white paint of reality melted into the darkness of a low lit movie theater of memory. The seats were tight-packed together; dusty red upholstery; creeky as they reclined. In his mind’s eyes, Charles looked down to find an opened box of Junior Mints sitting in his lap. A Pepsi cola was stuffed into the seat cup holder, on his right. He looked up toward the screen to see an animated orange rising sun overlaying an African plain. The song of solo chant blared through the speakers.

‘NAAAAaaaaaaaa…Ze, Nu, Whenya…Buba, Keez, Se, By, By….’

His left ear registered the ripping sound of a candy pack. Suddenly, the mint chocolate scent of his Junior Mints intermingled with a sweet perfume. A dainty voice spoke into his ear.

“I love Sprees. They’re my favorite.”

He smiled and turned to look into her blue eyes. Through the darkness of the theater, illuminated by the light of the movie screen, they sparkled. No matter where on earth the two of them were in those days, those beautiful eyes of hers represented home for him. She was his best friend. She held his heart.

“I can’t believe I let you talk me into coming to see ‘The Lion King’. I’ll never hear the end of this one,” he said. She burst into laughter.

“Secretly, you love coming to the dollar show with me,” she said. Grabbing hold of his hand, she interlocked her fingers. They sat back, and watched Simba’s tale unfold.

Charles opened his eyes to the title screen of ‘The Hobbit’. Reaching into the white box, he fished out a chocolate disc and let the sweet taste melt in his mouth. He remembered.

“Gus,” he said. “I haven’t thought of you in years. Why now? Why all of a sudden? I don’t understand it Lord.”

Deep within his spirit, Charles heard two words resonate in answer: Soul Ties.

“Soul ties,” he said. “God, I never realized…never even considered…that I might still be tied to her in some way. I thought she was nothing more than a harmless memory.”

Charles reached for the desktop mouse, scrolled over the screen and closed the movie. Clasping his hands together, he whispered a prayer. Once finished, he opened up a blank Word document.

“God, are you sure I need to do this? I mean…I don’t want to defy you in any way. But I have to be honest, I don’t understand what this is going to solve. I didn’t know there was any issue here. I’m sure wherever she is, in her life today, she’s fine. And really, she means nothing in the grand scheme of my marriage today.”

He fished another Junior Mint from the box, and watched the blinking cursor at the top of the blank page. As he popped the sweet chocolate into his mouth, Charles heard the response in his spirit.

YES. WRITE.

“Fine. Alright…sure, I have fear. I’m afraid she won’t understand what I’m trying to say. Hell, I don’t know what I need to say! I’m afraid, that…this could mean the end of our friendship, if it’s taken the wrong way. I’m afraid she’ll think I’ve gone completely nuts. I’m afraid,” he whispered. He suddenly realized the list of fears were ego-driven.

“Lord, I’m afraid of disappointing you. I’m afraid, that if I don’tfollow your lead, I really could be jeopardizing my own marriage unwittingly. I’m afraid of doing anything outside your will. So, grant me the words to speak the truth. Help me to set her free…from me, even if she doesn’t know it.”

Charles popped another chocolate mint into his mouth. He took in a deep breath, as his finger tips prepared to peck away at the keyboard. He spoke her name once, and began to type.

“Gus…”

 
 
 

 Dear Gus, 

You crossed my mind yesterday, right out of the blue. And wouldn’t you know it? This morning, I opened up my social media page, and there you were! It was a harmless note; just a “check-in” really; just your way of saying, “Hi. I’m still around and I’m doing okay”. I laughed and was genuinely happy to hear from you, because we shared so many good times together.

The thought of you returned tonight just as I was about to watch a movie in the quiet hours of the night, alone; alone…with my box of Junior Mints. Wife and kids are safely tucked away in their beds, and so I find myself thinking of my friend; wondering how she’s reallydoing; wondering how often our minds cross paths at the same time. This isn’t the first time, I’ve found out you were thinking of me or vise versa for that matter. It’s happened before.  

Right then, it hit me, Gus. There’s a reason why it has happened before; why it happened in the past few days; why it may potentially happen again. We have a soul tie. I honestly don’t think it’s your fault, but I really had to accept that this thing is real, and spans years!

Once upon a time, I met a beautiful, young, blonde, blue-eyed girl: completely opposite of my taste in women! Through the grace of the Lord (I understand that now), we quickly became friends at work. That friendship took on a life of its own, because soon we were inseparable. You and I did everything together, from spending time at the mall, to taking trips to the zoo. We walked together; we talked together; we saw movies together, complete with Junior Mints and Sprees; we spent hours on the phone together when we were apart physically. We shared an intimate relationship despite our open denial of its existence.

I loved you so much, Gus. And for quite awhile, you loved me, too. You held my heart in both your hands and I didn’t realize it until later on in life. You saw me at my best, and at my worst. We saw each other cry; we yelled at one another, at times; we laughed a lot. Folks closest to us didn’t understand the depth of our relationship, but that was fine by us, because two peas in the same pod don’t care about the corn cob’s opinions.

Gus, I know now, that you were sent to me at a time in my life, when I needed someone to help me figure things out. I needed companionship and an honest love that was based on more than just physical beauty and attraction. You once said that God brought me into your life, when you needed help. I think it was the other way around. Sure, we were dumb kids doing dumb stuff, but ours was a bond that actually prepared me for marriage later.

Gus, my wife is an amazing woman. She has human issues to face just as we all do. But she puts her heart and soul into her family and our marriage. She’s the most important woman in my life today, followed closely by our daughters. I tell you this to help you understand what’s coming next. We went through a terrible time in our marriage, at one point. Satan really beat us down and threatened our family. But, God showed up right on time. He turned us around, dusted us off, and helped us to start walking with Him. As we began to rediscover each other, I found myself remembering what it was like to have an intimate relationship with a woman, not simply based on physical attraction. It was my experience with you I was drawing from. Being with you back then, was preparing me to fill the husband roll, later on in my life. How awesome is our God?!

My wife knows who you were in my life; she knows how much you meant to me; I think…she understood, before I did, that you and I share a soul tie. She knew that one day, I would have to lay it down for good. I kept every card you ever gave me; silly little holiday notes; trinkets; stuff that, while you may have considered mundane, actually meant the world to me; all, in a little box…for years. I just had to let them go a few years ago. The more I learn about the Lord and His word, the more I learn that objects from the past can hinder your future. I didn’t realize that I was still tied to you. Now don’t take that the wrong way; we’re not talking anything perverted or disruptive here! No, this tie is just a link to my past. And so today, I see. For the first time…I really see.

Gus I love you. Some part of me always will. It’s a different kind of love than before, but its love none the less. You were my best friend when I needed one. You were my companion in every sense of the word, when I had none. You taught me how to love before I was ready for it. And I thank God for you. I need you to do a favor for an old friend.

Say a prayer for me, and for my family. Then…ask God to severe our tie. Let me go, Gus. Let me go.’

 

Charles printed the letter. The read was emotional for him. Tears came suddenly and washed down his cheeks, freeing an invisible weight as they flowed. This was God’s doing. All of it. Charles accepted it for what it was, and thanked the Lord for the words. He realized that, at that moment, he was releasing the remnants of a love that kept him bound to the past. It had been a prison of sorts. A self imposed prison. And walking through the open door was refreshing.

He read the final words of the letter, then crumpled the pages. Charles threw the paper wad into the waste basket and poured the remaining half filled box of Junior Mints into the basket as well.

“I love you Gus. Always will. I hope…somewhere in your heart, you’ll always love me too. Be happy. I pray, in the name of Jesus.”

 

 

 

 

For K.A.O.-A.

   
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