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Popcorn Story

TaJuan is an aspiring writer hoping to gain experience and growth through publishing passionate works, like this one, online for the world.

It was a silly thought: to sit on a chair and watch my popcorn pop. Usually, I am on my phone listening to music, or mindlessly scrolling on social media as the jealousy of watching the beautiful lives of others absorb into me. I guess I was subconsciously tired of the typical killing of time, thus something new was in order. So, I moved a chair towards the microwave, plopped myself onto it, and started cooking the popcorn.

If I was being completely honest with myself, popcorn is okay. Like, I would choose tons of snacks above popcorn, but I would also choose popcorn over tons of snacks. It’s somewhere in the middle according to my taste buds. People tend to ask why I get it, and I always reply the same way, “I don’t really know.” I think that’s okay, to not know things, for no one knows everything, and I for one don’t want to know everything. I want to say it would be overwhelming, but that’s not really the word I am looking for. I guess mark that as another thing I don’t know.

I guess, if I were to give it an examined look, I get popcorn because it’s comfortable. My parents used to always feed me popcorn when I had no choice on the matter, for I couldn’t even tell you what the color red was, let alone feed myself. I don’t know if that speaks to how intricate parent influence is to childhood, or how, as humans, we tend to hold onto the comfortable, even if it isn’t ideal. Again, I don’t know.

You know, actually, my best friend despises popcorn. It isn’t a defining trait of his or anything, but it did become a heated 20 minute debate between us. We tend to talk about the weirdest topics, and I love each and every one of them. That isn’t the only thing I love regarding him, and it’s infuriating. They say these feelings should bring joy, produce butterflies in your stomach, and make you better as a person. In my case, no joy, but anxiety, no butterflies, but moths. Further, due to pervasive thoughts, I feel worse as a person.

The problem lies in his title: best friend. That is a relationship I refuse to risk, no matter the potential benefits because that’s all they are, potential. Everyone always encourages you to take the shot, but who is still with you when it’s a miss? Your best friend possibly, but I am hard pressed to believe he’d be willing to comfort my heart ache in this case. Yet, even with all of the aversion, I yearn for him all the same. He’s unlike anyone I have ever, or will meet. I’m stuck at a crossroads, and not only do I not know which path to take, but I don’t even know where I am heading.

Maybe that’s why I am so attracted to popcorn: the certainty of it all. I always know exactly what I am going to get with popcorn: solid taste, buttery hands, and messy teeth. Again, unideal, but consistent. Speaking of which, the popcorn had been rising nicely. Pop, pop, pippity-pop. The popping sound was always a highlight. Even when I listen to my music, I keep it low enough to appreciate the sounds of the popcorn. Another amazing aspect of the popcorn cooking is how the bag changes. I am not saying there is some crazy phenomena occurring, as the process is not difficult to comprehend. However, when morphed into an allegory of life, it becomes extremely more interesting. See, the popcorn starts out small and undesirable, but when given time and effort (heat), it metamorphosizes into something beautiful. A true caterpillar to butterfly moment.

I always keep my eyes keen on the beautiful aspects of life, big or small. I aspire to write something, I don’t really know what, but something that is beautiful at some level. Something that does not have to be widely popular or make me successful. I just want to write something where someone, anyone, is left better off after reading it. That’s all I want. Sounds simple to most, but a recurring fear of mine is that my “simple” goal will never be completed, and it’s all one culprit: school.

I am completely drained from school. The whole reason I had gotten up to make popcorn was to take a break from the research paper I was writing. Not only that, but a load of pointless assignments from classes I wish I hadn’t taken, but I mistakenly thought I could power through it. Creativity does not thrive in this atmosphere, even if you’re in a creativity based field like me. Knowledge is the focus, and I abhor that. I will forever not know things, so what’s the point of learning useless information?

This universal obsession of knowledge is driving me crazy. Other people find themselves wanting, needing, or actually knowing things. Other people know why they like or dislike popcorn. Other people know what they want to do when they’re older.

The microwave beeped, which signaled the popcorn was ready. I stared at the popcorn, as it stared right back at me. Trapped in silence for an unknown amount of time, I finally got up and retrieved the popcorn from the microwave. Popcorn walks such a defined and linear path: open, microwave, serve. I envy that. Everything in my life is chaotic. My relationships are complicated at best, school is hell, and I don’t even have a plan once, or if, I ever do finish. I was lost. However, something clicked later that night as I ate the popcorn. I put on my headphones and played Pluto Projector by Rex Orange County. It’s in that song where my favorite lyric resides. A lyric that tells me that someday, though it’s not specified when, but someday, everything will work out. It fills my body with the purest hope. So eventually, with crumbs of popcorn across my face, and tears flowing down my eyes, I sang the lyric:

“Old enough to understand.”

Even if I were to never learn anything else, I would always know one thing: everything is going to be okay. I’m certain of it.