Our theme for October is “Why I Believe.”
It was a Tuesday like any other.
The clock struck nine and I felt the familiar ache in the deepest depths of my being.
My husband Mitch sat beside me, unaware of the shift in the atmosphere. His world kept on spinning as though nothing was out of balance.
Best not to say anything about it, I thought. Not tonight. I can make it through tonight. Better save it for tomorrow.
But the seconds ticked by, and soon I could stand it no longer. Ignoring my better judgment, I turned to him and asked, “Do you want to go to Martha’s?”
Martha’s, also known as Martha’s Vineyard, is a gourmet grocer in our neighborhood. It’s the kind of place you go when you want to feel like a fancy grocery shopper. I rarely go there for things that I need; instead, my heart beckons me there on nights when my desire outweighs my common sense.
He gave me a look. “We shouldn’t,” he replied.
I should have known he’d be in one of his righteous moods.
But I wasn’t ready to give up.
You see, we didn’t have any sweets in the house.
And I have what you might call a sweet tooth. Or, in my case, sweet teeth. As in multiple. As in a full set—all thirty-two of them, sweet as can be. And my molars, canines, and incisors demand a certain kind of lifestyle. One that includes sugar at regular intervals.
Luckily, I know of a magical place on a nearby street that will sell me a variety of sweets—baked goods, candy, ice cream, you name it—seven days a week. And in typical magical fairy godmother fashion, they leave the doors open til midnight, because nothing says “I’m a fully functioning adult” like triple chocolate mousse at ten thirty on a Tuesday.
So here we find ourselves at the case of baked goods, the crown jewel of the magic kingdom of Martha’s, deliberating over cupcakes and cheesecakes and brownies, picking just one to share, because what do you think we are, savages? Or, in a slightly more economical move, we’ll get the gummy bears (yes, you read that correctly), and stretch their bite-sized sugary goodness over as many days as is reasonable (also known as two days). You see, contrary to his righteous moods, Mitch has a sweet tooth, too, but only one, and it hides in the back where he can usually ignore it except when I cast the do-you-want-to-go-to-Martha’s spell on it. He can try to resist, but eventually we’ll we end up here, at Martha’s, on a Tuesday, past our bedtime. For sweet treats, those blessed and treacherous confections.
On these trips, we get to take a late night walk, out in the fresh air. We get to talk while we walk instead of having our noses in phones and books at home. We get to deliberate and negotiate about what our treat should be. We get to remember the art of sharing when feeding time finally comes. We get to bond over our shared joy in the glorious delicacy in front of us.
This, my friends, is the importance of dessert. It’s why I believe all people should listen to their sweet teeth as often as is necessary/recommended by their healthcare professionals (JUST KIDDING you might want to keep this on the DL from your PCP). Because as much as we shouldn’t (health! arteries!), we should (common ground! shared experiences!). We all have varying levels of sweetness in our teeth, but by and large, the hankering for something saccharine is universal. It can be spouses arguing (sorry, discussing) at the display case or strangers chatting in line at the donut shop. It can be a gift you make for a loved one in celebration or in solace. It can be church potlucks and bake sales or learning about a different culture through its definition of dessert.
Whatever it is, it’s bound to be sweet.
Catherine Kramer (’14) has a degree in English and works in publishing. Her continued existence is made possible by grace, warm hugs, and iced chai lattes.