‘M&M World’ by Kate Walbert
From The New Yorker:
Ginny had promised to take the girls to M&M World, that ridiculous place in Times Square they had passed too often in a taxi, Maggie scooting to press her face to the glass to watch the giant smiling M&M scale the Empire State Building on the electronic billboard and wave from the spire, its color dissolving yellow, then blue, then red, then yellow again. She had promised. “Promised,” Olivia said, her face twisted into the expression she reserved for moments of betrayal. “Please,” Olivia whined. “You said ‘spring.’ ”
She had said “spring.” This she remembered, and it was spring, or almost. Spring enough. Spring advancing, the trees newly budded, the air peppery. Regardless, it felt too early to go home when the light shone this strongly, slanting across Central Park in the way of late March, early April; plus, the city had already collectively sprung forward. Spring has sprung, the grass has ris’.
“All right,” she found herself saying. “Just once. Today. Just once. This is it.” Breaking her resolution to stop qualifying—five more minutes, this last page, one more bite—and wishing, mid-speech, she would stop. She has tried. Just as she has tried to be more easygoing, but when push comes to shove, as it always will, she is not easygoing. And she qualifies. It’s a verbal tic: first this and then that. A constant negotiation—action then reward, or promise of reward. What is it that the books say? Screw the books.