Bit-O-Honey. Once in a while you see them mixed in with all the other penny candies. More like nickel candies now with inflation but you get the idea. Bit-O-Honey, a candy with memory and weight for me.
One, the flavor reminds me of the hospital. A good memory you ask? Yes. For two years I had no responsibility. It was a cocoon to develop into the beautiful butterfly I am today. Time moved slowly then. Memories of that period are sacrosanct. It was an intense period in my life. A time of total focus spent looking for clues. Not survival as the past twenty years have been, the amenities of life were provided then and I only had to wake up each morning.
Bit-O-Honey, a candy that made its appearance once a year. Small wax paper wrapped packages of honey bursting chews. Hollow’s Eve? Candy? How could I who started life at thirty have childish memories such at these?
I experienced two witches nights on the inside. Two within the walls of mental recuperation. And both were a dichotomy of emotions. The staff worked very hard to get the patients excited about the event of Halloween. Each time, all were disappointed because why would any child trick or treat at a mental hospital?
Even so the candy bowls were filled with a multitude of sweets. Lithium and sugar are great mixers but it is once a year and the staff needed a highpoint. One special time during the year where outside family and friends promises’ to visit weren’t a disappointment to patients when they didn’t.
Both times I pulled every Bit-O-Honey I could find from the bowls. Chewing the woody sweetness was a comfort. On that one day and night it was probably the single individual activity I did other than read. Probably the only time I looked as if I belonged.
That first Halloween, Ray caught me rummaging through the bowl.
“Man, if you don’t look like a crazy tonight.”
I looked at him, my robe held out in front like a bowl with bits of candy spilling over. The sugar rush glint in my eyes pegging me as one of the more dangerous patients on the ward. Back in my room, chewing one after another of those queen’s jelly inspired treats, I felt at home, at peace, as if I had found a slender thread of who I once was.
Answers? No. Just a small comfort of sugar on a night when ghouls ruled yet had little power. I wandered out of my room, sweetly satiated, and look at all the others. Their great expectations dashed. Expectations built up by staff trying to help yet sucked dry by the reality that no child would ring the bell asking for a treat. A very big letdown for the others but a moment’s peace for me. A small chunk of candy brought back a bit of my past but like the candy itself, a feeling with little substance, just the sense of familiarity with no real memories to back it up.
Ray told me that feelings were sometimes all you needed. The actual memory only mucks things up. Feelings are more powerful than actual thoughts because they are motivators. If you think too much, you intellectualize the process. Passion launches more inspired ships than intellect.
So, Bit-O-Honey is my talisman to leap first, ask questions later, a practice very difficult for me. Why think of this now? I put on an old coat today. One I haven’t worn since last Halloween. And in its pocket, I found a single piece of this confection so dear to my heart. Its memory steals my aspirations and focuses me on my target.
That is to say, it is my rub and with its mystical power of comfort a small beacon on my journey. I hope one of many so that I can find my home port, a port whose familiarity gives back a portion of my life so mercilessly torn away.
All this from a simple piece of candy. What other puzzle pieces might I overlook rushing towards answers without questions?