Last night I found a small cardboard box inside a crumpled brown paper grocery bag on the top shelf of the hall closet. Inside this small cardboard box were five, unopened, untouched packages of Mallo Cups. They were two-packs. It was a Christmas gift I had received from my Uncle many years ago. The gift was so perfect in conception and execution – the cardboard box was recycled from some incomprehensible electronics parts company, with its order form invoice and label still stuck on the lid – that I didn’t dare disturb it. Eating the Mallo Cups would’ve ruined everything.
In its simple, unsophisticated manner the gift summed up a thousand dark, cold, slushy November weeknights spent waiting for my father to pick me up from Catechism and making due with a single, unwrapped, Mallo Cup in my coat pocket, it tasting and smelling more like the gasoline my gloves were soaked in than the discount Guatemalan chocolate that covers it.
Feeling ashamed of my neglect of this gift and sensitive to the trauma of being locked in this airless, lightless box for the better part of a decade, I did the only humane thing possible: This morning I stepped out on the porch, opened the lid and set the Mallo Cups free.
They trembled a bit and it took them awhile to get used to the humidity but soon they were soaring above the roof line. The last one flew away just before noon. I followed it in the sky for as long as I could but eventually lost it in the bright June sun.
We can’t fix all the mistakes of the past. No matter how many stamps we use, the post office won’t deliver a letter to 1998. But every so often we get a chance to make right by the ghastly snack foods in our lives.
Never pass them up.