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The Smartie Affect

Smarties are the worlds greatest invention. They can cure almost anything; headaches, broken hearts, nerves before a sporting event, anything.
The Smartie Affect began on a spring day just like any other. It was however, the day of districts track. I was about to throw. Throw up that is. I could probably spew my vomit farther than I could my shot put. I reached into the hot pink sports bag I had chosen that morning to tote my stuff all over the field. I had put inside of it three bags of Smarties.
"Dude, calm down. You'll do great. You always do." Max said encouragingly to me.
"Easy for you to say! You didon't have to beg for this spot. You have nothing to prove, nothing to lose! my career as a thrower depends on this throw!" I told him.
"Come on, they're calling for you now." He begins the trek across the football field, pausing for the 1600 meter runners to pass by, then continuing. I followed.
I did OK, throwing 21 feet. It was nothing special, just average. On the bus on the way home, I was reflecting on my performance. I put one Smartie in my mouth at a time, letting it melt on my tongue before swallowing. It was like that for the two hour trip home.
My phone had been through the washer the week before, and so I had to use Wren's phone. My dad didn't answer. We were still half an hour away from home.
I called him again when we got to the school. He told me to walk to his friends house, so I did, not knowing what was going on.
It was an hour later when he pulled up, his truck covered in mud and several large dents in it. He said he had gone off the road and nearly drove into a huge boulder. I laughed at that. He then called my mother.
My parents had been divorced since September of that same year. I knew he wasn't handling it well. It became more clear when he started screaming at her. I cannot truly remember what it was about, because that's another thing Smarties are good for, making you forget the hurt.
He took off with his friend, and I knew they were going to a bar. It was eleven thirty before they came back. Chad walked into the house, and my father followed. I could smell the alcohol. He asked me to go with him outside.
He then asked me what was wrong and I plainly told him we shouldon't be having this conversation because he's drunk. He was offended at the thought. He insisted he wasn't, then pressed on with what he had to say. Neither of us had a knack for sharing our feelings but some things needed to be said. We talked for nearly an hour. In that time, he told me how he had tried to commit suicide, and how much he missed my mother. When we went inside, his friends wouldn't give him his keys because he was too drunk to drive home. The conversation kept running through my mind. I couldon't sleep. I could plainly hear my father in the next room over snoring loudly. I rolled out of the bed and dug around in my bag, looking for the left over Smarties because I knew I might puke. I needed something to help cure my broken heart. I was 13 years old.
~
A lot had changed in the year that followed that conversation. I didon't trust my father like I used to. I still loved him, but just didon't trust him.
My aunt and cousins were moving to Nebraska. They were my permanent fixture, the thing I clung to that would always stay the same. The week before they left, my aunt told my sister and I why my mother left my father. She said he beat her, that he would sit on her and he clearly brOKe her arm once. I cried to sleep that night, and am still not healed, because I didon't eat any smarties after it had happened. I still don't know what to believe. I was 14 years old.
~
"so, umm, I was wondering if you wanted to go on a date with me sometime? If you want." Max stammered. I just stood there, shocked beyond all believe. Max and I had been best friends since the seventh grade. There was never anything romantic between us. What had changed so suddenly?
"Sure. Friday at the movies?" I say. He smiles, and I find myself staring at the dimples in his cheeks. He lopes off at his dopey gate to his football practice, and I go to my golf.
We are so different, but so the same. How will it all work out? I ask myself Friday night as I get ready for my date with max. I don't want him to thing I put a lot of extra effort into looking nice for him, but I did. I slip a package of smarties into my wallet for later, in case I get more nervous than I already am. I ate three packs already in the last hour. My doorbell rings. I rush downstairs and open the door. He looks nice, but casual, like usual. He smiles, and I smile.
"Let me grab my shoes and we'll go." I say as I bend down to but my sneakers on. HE takes my hand and leads me to his car. On the way we argue about what to see. It feels good, normal.
We end up picking a comedy. It really was funny. he asks me if I want anything before we go, and I go into the bathroom. I don't have to use it, but my stomach is doing flips. I take out the smarties and eat the entire thing in one bite. I rinse my hands and walk back out. We go to his truck and he takes me home. At my door, we stand there awkwardly. We both try to say something at the same time. Eh smiles and leans in and kisses me. It's something I want to do again. When he pulls away, I smile and loOK at my feet. He whispers in my ear, "You taste like smarties," and kisses my cheek and leaves. I was 15 years old.
Now, at 16 I get asked the same question. Why am I so smart. I used to tell people that it was because when my mother was pregnant with me she was taking college classes, which is true. That just got me funny loOKs. Now I tell people it's because when I wake up every morning the first thing I do is eat a package of Smarties. They laugh and move on form the subject and we talk about school or sports, or the weather. They don't understand the history Smarties and I have. They don't understand The Smartie Affect.



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