It’s my break time, so I’m heading on up to the break room. It’s time for my normal routine, which is to stretch out on one of the benches and have a nap. I enter the break room to find that it’s in its normal, disheveled state. But, what is this? It appears that someone has left a chocolate chip cookie on the table. Oh, how I love chocolate chip cookies! Those little nuggets of chocolaty goodness nestled within the warm loving bosom of baked goods. I glance around. It appears that there is no one else in sight. I glance back at the cookie. There is no one else around. There is no note on the cookie saying, “This cookie belongs to someone. Do not eat it!” I am confronted with a moral dilemma: do I take the cookie, or leave it?
I stare at the cookie, and it stares straight back at me (if it had eyes). There is no one else around. Has this cookie been abandoned by its owner? Long forgotten by a reckless employee? Or, perhaps, was that employee called away to some more pressing task, with good intentions of coming back to it? The cookie just keeps staring at me in stony silence. Oh, if only this cookie could talk and tell me of its status! Is this cookie unattached, and just waiting for someone to come and devour it, or is this cookie waiting like a faithful wife for her husband to return from the war? Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s cookie. But, does the cookie really belong to my neighbor? Is it free for the coveting?
The cookie keeps staring at me. I keep staring back. I look at the cookie like how one might look at anything unattainable. The cookie is like a shining new car, staring at me though a dealership window. “Drive me,” it’s saying. “You know you want to.” There are many people in this world who have succumbed to the call of the car, and we all know what happened to them. We have a word for those kind. They are thieves. Thou shalt not steal, but you cannot steal something that belongs to no one
The cookie keeps staring at me. Why are you staring at me like that, dear cookie? Away from me, you foul temptress! Do not tempt me with your hidden treasures of bittersweet chocolate nestled in the warm comfort of a baked good bed! Do you know what you’re doing to me cookie? Are you aware of how you’re driving me crazy? Quit looking at me like that! Quit tempting me down this dark path! For all I know, you’re rightful owner will come through that door any moment now, and nothing but your chocolatey remains will be on my lips and I’ll have a lot of explaining to do….
But then, I don’t know if you have a rightful owner. Perhaps you were long ago rejected, the last of your brethren, spurned by a person who decried that his or her belly was too full! Are you tempting me, or are you just ready to move on with your life? Are you prepared to love again, and are you hoping that I will be the one? Oh, if that were the case, then believe me, I would wrap my hands around with a lightening pace and devour you with a passion that you have never known! The cookie keeps staring at me.
To eat, or not to eat, that is the question. Has divine providence brought this man and cookie together to be together for ever more? Or is the cookie just a spawn of Satan, here to bring a man to his knees and destroy his life? Do I take the cookie or leave it? Oh, cookie! If only you could tell me your story! But cookies were not blessed with the gift of speech. It is up to me, to sit here, staring at you, and wondering how you arrived at this situation. But, as much as I pray for it, the cookie does not speak. It just keeps staring at me in silence.
I cannot take this any longer! I get up from the table and move away from the cookie. I must get my mind off of this situation. I go over to my jacket and begin idly sorting out my pocket change, looking for enough to go to the pop machine with. I don’t have enough, so I head on over to the sink. I take a dirty glass and rinse it out. I run the tap until I begin to feel cold water coming out. I fill my glass and take a big drink of nice cool water. I place the glass, again dirty, back into the sink. I begin pacing the break room nervously, casually reading some of the company propaganda that adorns the walls. But as much as I try to ignore it, as much as I try to move on, I cannot, and my gaze is soon brought back to the cookie.
Tell me, cookie! Tell me what it is you want! Do you desire for me to consume you, or do you desire to wait for a betrothed to return? Or…perhaps you have lost feelings for your betrothed. Do you want me to consume you, regardless of what happens? Do you want to be caught in the hands of another? Oh, you are a foul temptress, indeed! Tell me what you want cookie! Just tell me! But it keeps staring at me in silence.
Will you please just leave me alone, dear cookie! I cannot take this anymore! Yes, I want you! Yes, nothing would please me more than to have you fill my belly! Nothing would please me more than to have you and I walking off together into the sunset! But I do not know if you belong to another! If you do belong to another, then our love is never meant to be, so you can just stop looking at me like that! And as long as I don’t know, then doing nothing is the honorable thing, so just leave me alone! LEAVE ME ALONE! But the cookie just keeps staring at me.
Don’t you understand, dear cookie? I cannot touch you, for it is the right thing to do. As much as it saddens both of us, you must remain here, on the table, for your destined to return. Am I your destined? I’m afraid I don’t know. And until we both know of what our destinies are, then we cannot be together. I love you, dear cookie, but I must let you go, to find your own place in this world! And you must let me go, for I too must find my place. If we are meant to be together, then I will find you again…someday.
The cookie just keeps staring at me, but I no longer stare back. I know now, in my heart, that it would have been wrong to take the cookie. I have let the cookie go, and am starting to move on with my life. I look up at the clock to see that my break is over. I stand up, straighten my apron, and head back down to the cash registers. I leave the cookie behind. But, on my way back to the tills, I go through the cookie aisle, and I grab a bag of chocolate chip cookies for me to snack on for the duration of my shift. I know that I will love again, but for the dear cookie that I leave behind, only time will tell….