Sugar This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
The silver pickup trudged along the highway, the tinted windows left half open, revealing two tufts of cottonball hair set atop two liver-spotted foreheads. The old man and woman had been married 52 3/8 years. They could remember when they counted only the half years but couldn’t remember when they wore each new piece with the pride of a four-and-a-half-year old and didn’t see them as lead-filled measuring cups that hung from their limbs with each passing fraction of a year.

They were on their way home from the house of their daughter who was a successful lawyer and a very devoted mother and could make a key lime pie with half the calories and twice the taste in a fourth of the time. They knew she threw out the peanut crackle fudge they brought up special when she thought they weren’t looking. The sugar would go right to her thighs and keep her from the gray pants with the sharp creases that looked like success and the black dress with the slits that made her blush but smelled of her husband’s devotion. The old man and woman knew she threw it out but pretended not to hear the thud as the candy hit the empty metal bottom of the wastebasket. The woman could still picture the ribbons that were their daughter’s favorite shade of lavender shake from the jolt.

They fished out the cellophane-wrapped confection and shared it between them. He bit and chewed, bit and chewed, while she swallowed chocolaty chunks whole, washing them down with stale-tasting saliva and the fervent hope her daughter wouldn’t rave about the taste when she called next month.

Their daughter, a child under one arm, a pie tethered to the other, successfully placed the first in the old man’s arms, the second in the oven, and sped calmly out the door, her hastily called devotions and baking instructions hanging in her wake.

The child screamed and howled in the old man’s arms, stopping only when the old woman stuck a still sugar-coated finger in his mouth. She reveled in the soft wet of his tiny lips and tongue until the daughter’s husband came home. As the husband said hello-good-bye the old woman reluctantly slipped out her cold dry thumb and watched the child hungrily lap from his lips the last bit of love his mother had thrown away.

They were silent on the dark drive home, his bleary gaze anchored to the infinite yellow lines. She stared at his shadowy form, illuminated by streetlights every three heartbeats, lit for two, then plunged back into a light black that had no effect on her ability to see him. Still intent on the stream of yellow he ­approached and left behind, the old man reached into the worn pocket of his corduroys and pulled out the last piece of fuzz-spotted fudge, placing it in the cup holder. The old woman took the old man’s hand in hers across the armrest, and took the fudge with the other. Holding it between two dry fingers, she bit and chewed.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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This article has 16 comments. Post your own now!

writergirl13 said...
Apr. 23, 2010 at 8:28 pm
This is so good! I never realized what it's like to be in the position of the old lady, when she feels that her daughter has completely flown out of the nest, but she still tries to hold on to her and her baby.
 
gkegrace This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 30, 2010 at 6:02 pm
beautiful story. you really have a talent with word usage and you showed real maturity in this kind of subject. There were a few awkward phrases, though, because you decided not to name the daughter (which i can understand). Maybe if you had named the characters it would have helped the reader. Beautiful story, and please keep writing!
 
amber96_ said...
Feb. 11, 2010 at 3:37 pm
i read the first paragraph and automatically became bored. maybe i'm just rubbissshhh at reading and reviewing? sorry :/
 
teardrops said...
Apr. 16, 2009 at 3:03 am
wonderful.
 
emster29 said...
Feb. 18, 2009 at 12:49 am
I thought it was great! Some people might say that it was a little weird how you described the old lady chewing the fudge, by I thought it was amazing that you could think that far into the story! Honestly- and I mean this in a good way- this is the kind of story that I read at night, by light of my cellphone to help me fall asleep with sweet dreams. I love your style! Thank you for rwiting it!
 
heysunshine said...
Feb. 13, 2009 at 1:36 am
I liked the tiny attention to detail
the story made me feel sad
like a child forgetting about the parents that raised her :/
 
darknesschic said...
Feb. 8, 2009 at 2:07 am
good job it was well put out and i liked the subject of how people were submerged together it reminded me of how we need to cut back on the population but with the recession in USA it might drop also i think over population is being over looked cuz all the other things we now have to take care of.
 
volleyballrox said...
Feb. 6, 2009 at 12:25 am
The story is great, the plot is sentimental and sweet, like when you suck
a hard candy. Sweet hard cold truth of the world! But i'm sorry to say that even though i enjoyed the piece i started falling asleep! Great otherwise!
 
HBCdance said...
Feb. 5, 2009 at 10:02 pm
I LOVED your story. I thought it was the perfect length. More information would have clouded it up and made it less understandable. I liked the way you said just enough for the reader to get it, but they also have to make their own assumptions. Great job!
 
i<3you said...
Feb. 5, 2009 at 10:02 pm
It was....hmm..How do I put this? It was kind of like, you WANTED to be good and msterious, but made the story boring in the process.
 
YoungWriter said...
Feb. 5, 2009 at 8:43 pm
I understood the metaphor, but I don't believe it was creative or focused. One of your comments read,(paraphrase)"I got bored." The story does not have an alluring effect, but I would like you to know I admired the imagery and attention to details. However, your character building needs work. Overall, I encourage you to keep writing if it is your passion, and good luck to your future as a writer!
 
llllllllllllollllllllllll king said...
Jan. 29, 2009 at 5:04 pm
I stoped reading after the first 2 paragraphs because I got bord.
 
Lolalula said...
Jan. 23, 2009 at 4:41 am
Hey, I really like this story! It shows just enough to keep you wishing there was more. I almost wish you didn't submit it so that you could have embellished and made it into a full length, or even a short novel/story. I also wrote a piece for TeenInk a while ago, called A Will to Live. Check it out.
 
tweedle dee said...
Jan. 12, 2009 at 2:22 am
this is cool sorta weird and kinda sad but i actually like it alot.
 
prettymama said...
Jan. 8, 2009 at 1:16 am
i like it so much i wish i wrote it good job and i hope you get somemore good comments
love,
a fan p.s. keep writing great stories
 
AnneOnnimous replied...
Jan. 20, 2010 at 5:02 pm
i liked it...the sentences were different, sort of run- on. sometimes that was good, which i could see was the effect you were going for, but some of them were extremely awkward and tedious.
 
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