I read that somewhere. I forget where. It's horrible for your digestive system because it makes your stomach produce excess acid and it makes your jaw wear out quickly. That's why some old people can't chew at all. Because they wore their jaws out. So they eat soup and baby food and other such mush and they try to gum it but sometimes they miss and it dribbles down their chins, staining the front of their kitten sweaters and their worn flannels and their white T-shirts, yellowing at the collar and under the arms.
I stopped chewing gum. I don't want to get old. I don't want to be worn out. I don't want my body to be damaged to the point where I can't fix it. That's why I wear sunscreen everyday and have no color in my skin. No cancer, no wrinkles. That's why I skip out on junk and processed foods and try to walk around and exercise a bit. No stomach cancer, no toxins ingested, no muscle atrophy.
I smoke weed. I worry. I don't worry about getting caught smoking weed or smelling like it. At least not at first. I worry because I feel the smoke in my lungs. I remember my very first inhale. I nearly cried. As the smoke came in, I swore I almost felt some innocence leaving. It hurt. I coughed. Hacking up mucus and shaking the cobwebs out of my throat. I felt a pain in the lining of my lungs, they felt tainted. Every time I smoke up I remember this and I still cough a little. I don't smoke up that much. It's not worth it.
I drunk sometimes. My friends are nerds. I do it alone, in my house. Safe, quiet. Then I just loll about, content with myself. Mostly. Liver damage comes to mind. If I ruin my liver drinking, no way will I be getting a new one from a donor. The donated liver will go to some adorable little girl with a deficiency and I will die on the waiting list like the worthless lush society thinks I am. Hah. I don't want to die. I stop after two beers.
Everything I put in my body has stuff in it that shouldn't be there. Pesticides. Toxins. Dye. Awful things. Things that could build up and hurt me. I can't really avoid it but I worry anyway. Sometimes I forget to eat. Sometimes I just eat fruit. I don't want to die.
My jaw. I like my jaw. I like solid food. I don't want my jaw to wear out. I don't want my lip to droop and lightly dribble food down my front, simultaneously dribbling acid on the fibers of my dignity. This won't happen now. I'm young. I should be enjoying myself. I don't want to be old with no careless youth to reflect upon but more then that, I don't want to be old ever. Ever ever.
So now I have gum in my mouth. I remember the day I bought this gum. I walked to an abandoned building with a boy, smearing the sunscreen I had in my bag on my exposed skin as I walked beside him. We took off our clothes and forgot about the rest of the world for a while. While his fingers were inside of me, I couldn't help but think. Will I be the same as I was before this? Physically, I was worried about. Mentally, I couldn't give less of a fuck. We fooled around for a while and then he asked me if it was okay for him to stick it in. I said oh. You're ready to be a father? He knew that meant no. I suggested we buy some condoms. He said he would feel guilty because I would have to pay for them, his wallet was at home but okay. I fastened my bra, hiked up my shorts, and walked to Rite-Aid with him, putting more sunscreen on my shoulders, the back of my arms, and my nose as I went.
He didn't want to go in with me. It's embarrassing. he said. Don't be silly. I said. Come in with me. He sighed but he never likes coming across as a pussy. Stumbling around a Rite-Aid looking for the condoms with a boy who is draped in shame is a silly experience. I felt unclean but not in a way that I felt like I couldn't fix. Go home and take a bath and I'd be daisy fresh again. Silly is the only word I can find to describe it. I wasn't mad that it wasn't perfect, I was just mellowed out among the absurdity.
I got ribbed condoms and walked to the cashier. I'll wait outside, he said and I didn't argue with him one bit. Are you thirsty? I asked. Do you like Mountain Dew? No. he said. Don't buy me anything. Alright, whatever. I said and I grabbed one for myself.
I went to pay.
Gum. Sixty nine cents. What the hell, I thought as I looked at the condoms. I'm already taking a pretty big risk right now. I put the gum, the box of condoms, and the Mountain Dew on the counter and fumble around in my purse for my twenty.
I fumble, fumble, fumble; only come across a five. "Oh. I'm so sorry." I say to the cashier. "I don't have as much money as I thought I did." She nods politely. She doesn't seem to mind. I shrug and go back to the condoms, slowly, dragging my feet a bit. Do I really want to do this? What are the risks? What if I get pregnant? What if I get cysts? I don't like him. I like messing around with him, sure, and he's a very nice boy but he doesn't hold my attention all that much. I don't have much in common with him. I imagine referring to him as my boyfriend. Introducing him to my friends. Talking to him about my problems. It feels off. I get to the condoms and look at the prices. The cheapest ones are five ninety nine. I pick up the box. No. I put it back and go up to the cashier. I put a Mountain Dew, some gum, and two candy bars on the counter. I think I have enough this time, I say. "Would you like to sign up for a rewards card?" Her voice is louder and realer than anything I have felt in a long time. "Yes."
I guess I was taking a bit too long because as I was filling it out the boy walks in. "I didn't have enough to get them." I say. My words feel realer than before. I feel realer than before. "But she talked me into signing up for this......thing. I got free candy. I can't say no." He doesn't seem too upset. He feels the same way about me as I do about him, boner aside. I finish signing it and swig some toxin and dye filled dew and pop some sticks of gum in my mouth. I offer him everything. He declines all but gum.
I found the pack today. I don't care much. I won't chew gum all the time but I plan to finish this pack. When I am old and can't chew, maybe I'll look back on this. Maybe I won't give a shit anymore. Maybe I'll die before then. I don't know. I don't know anything at all to be honest.