i have this thing. for dying breeds of candy.
i love them. all of them.
nerds. check. (might not be dying completely, but certainly on the endangered list.)
giant chewy sweet tarts. yes please. pass them this-a-way.
new york city is the place to live when you have penchant for long-ago-passed-over-sweets. (scorekeeper, a point to the city, please).
you see, whereas many a drugstore stopped carrying these throwbacks to the good ole days, we here in manhattan have bodegas and subway stands galore. and these little, movable candy stands never fail to impress.
so that's where i go in search of my now and laters. and my giant chewy sweet tarts. and while they're always a little stale and i find myself yearning for the halloweens of my childhood, i succumb to the call of the sweets, stale or not. beggars, as it turns out, cannot be choosers.
it was thursday night. and i was in the 59th street station. waiting for the A, my chariot of choice. and sometimes, after work, i feel like i deserve those giant chewy sweet tarts. well, as it turns out, i now know to run in the opposite direction as soon as i think i deserve anything. this feeling of entitlement is the kiss of death. in this case, literally.
but back to the chewy sweet tarts. there are four in a pack. and they take some time to eat. and paired with a good book, they make the subway right home almost tolerable. ( oh, yes, long subway rides home; scorekeeper please remove the aforementioned point).
so i pulled out the first one.
or grape, i suppose.
and there i am sitting and waiting for the train as this older african american gentleman croons away next to me (he was quite good, by the way). and i'm sucking on the grape. and it's producing a sweet juice in my mouth and i turn my head to look for the train and boom. the sweet juice (probably more phlegm than anything) slips down the wrong pipe. which if i remember correctly from freshman biology, means the epiglottis didn't close in time and pain was-a-my-way-coming.
so i start coughing. little hiccups of coughs.
and then i stand and start to walk, totally embarrassed that i'm starting to choke to death on the subway platform. because that's what's happening. i am actually starting to choke to death. right there. on the platform.
and here's the thing, my little hiccups of coughs aren't helping. and i can't get a good cough out. and i can't breath. oh, God, i can't breathe.
and there overlooking the tracks i will myself to throw-up. but throw-up what, i think? i'm not actually choking on the piece of the candy--this is just my own body voodoo juice slipped to the wrong place.
so i take in some breaths. and i am aware of the air entering the body and doing nothing. and i become acutely aware that choking to death feels nothing, not-at-all, like i expect. it doesn't feel like it looks (in movies and such).
and there in the 59th street station, standing on the edge of the platform. waiting for the A, listening to the man revisiting marvin gaye's greatest hits, God takes pity on me and grants a burp. a stomach rattling movement of air upward and out.
and it feels like almost nothing. it is far from satisfying. but it grants me life. for another day, at least.
and this burp is followed by another burp. and another. and my panicked shaking slowly subsides.
and i look at the other three giant chewy sweet tarts nestled in the package i still clutch in my left hand, and i think (very seriously, mind you) about whether to save them for later, or dig right in.
and then some wiser power (probably the aforementioned, no?) provides me with one of those rare, lucid moments. and the giant chewy sweet tarts, all three of them, find their way into the garbage can.
the train finally comes. and as i take my seat i flash on all those iconic scenes of new york city single gals coming oh-so-close to meeting their maker. miranda choking on chinese food. or liz lemon nearly done in just hours after jack's warning, "i would think that biggest thing a single woman has to worry about would be choking to death alone in her apartment."
here's what i think:
turns out it can happen on a subway platform too.
and it's high time to find myself a man. or an insurance policy inclusive of such an end.