It was impossible: the whole of the universe found its way in my palm. Of course, I didn’t know it then; I was six so such ignorance can be excused. Basic things eluded me. I didn’t know about ozonolysis. I didn’t realize the harms in trans fats. Hell, some days I couldn’t even urinate outside the seams of my pants.
But there it was after everything: the universe – a roaring red rolling onto a unblemished white, a vacuous black without the slighest glimmer, a blue, green, yellow and purple that could only be the fruits of the Big Bang, and it tittered and tottered as I tottered and tittered.
It was a gift from my grandfather. He smiled. He told me that here in these jellybeans was everything I’d need to know about the world and those in it.
I found it hard to believe, but not unbelievable. In a way, he was right – I knew I was hungry after all. Jellybeans would be all I needed, all I wanted. And bite-by-bite, a little piece of everything would become mine.
So in the comfort of my room with no responsibilities besides those that I invented and imagined, I ate and I ate and I ate in that order. My hands were a sticky rainbow paste and my digits were an abstract mess of food colouring and sugar.
Just as I was about to slurp my fourteenth droplet of paradise, my sister stomped in. “What are you doing?”
“Eating jellybeans.” I said.
“I see that. But you know you shouldn’t eat the white ones.”
“They’re unhealthy. Something something about chemicals. Grandma told me.”
“Yeah, so I wouldn’t eat them anymore.”
With a turn, she was gone. My hand dove in the plastic bag again, yet there wasn’t the sense of glee anymore. A generous handful procured a couple of white jellybeans. I picked them out carefully, and placed them in a tissue beside my bed. They looked as they did five minutes ago but they weren’t the same. They were harmful, chemically-latent, death pills. Most of all, they weren’t mine anymore. I didn’t want them.
I continued onto the green pieces. A bit different taste than the white, I admitted, but delicious nonetheless.
A knock, a voice, my father. “Son – why is there a napkin here?”
“Sister told me that the whites were bad for me.”
“Son – you’re wasting them, you know. What did I tell you about wasting food?”
“Exactly. Because you’re not supposed to do it. There’s nothing else to say.”
“It’s okay. Eat those slowly. Don’t spoil your dinner.”
Doors went a’slamming, feet went a’ scurrying, and I was alone in my room again. I looked back to the white jellybeans. They were the same as before, yet somehow after the door closed and a new ocean of candy swam in my hand, they were entirely different once again. Even their weight felt as though it had changed.
One popped in my mouth, another soon followed. As I was savoring the third, my Mom walked in. “Kacper?”
“Yes, Mom.” My lips stuck together with the wet sugar.
“What did I tell you about eating jellybeans?”
“Well I don’t want you eating them at all.”
“Because I said so.”
The bag was practically glued to my fingers. She had to tear them away. “You don’t know what’s good for you yet, Kacper.” She patted my head. “And that just isn’t my opinion.”
“It’s alright. You were just doing what you knew, little as that may be.” Her soft hands combed my mushroom cut.
“It wasn’t enough?”
“No.” Her fingers stopped on my scalp. “Want something else to eat?”
“It’s okay. I’m not hungry anymore.”
“Okay.” She looked at me hard in the eye and walked out with a final pat. The jellybeans jingled to the sound of her step until they jingled no more.