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Sweet as Candy: A Novel in Verse

By @Madison

Clarity

When Izzy leaves for work the next morning

I decide to jump the gun

And drive over to Culpepper’s drugstore.

Oddly enough, the drive over seems to be one of the most nervewracking things to happen over the past few weeks.

As far as I know right now, the whole thing could just be a fluke.

People have pregnancy scares all the time, right?

I could start my period before I even get there

And everything could go back to normal.

(Well, I might have learned my lesson with the caution to the wind thing.

Things like this sort of seem like omens for change.)

But, once I take a test

There’ll be no uncertainty.

I’ll have a sure answer

Positive or negative

Right there.

Quite frankly

That scares me to death.

They say that ignorance is bliss

Now, I’m starting to get that.

Still, this isn’t the sort of problem that goes away if you don’t think about it.

I could go past the three month mark and miss the oppurtunity to get rid of it

Or worse

I could be like those crazy women on TV

Who end up giving birth in the bathroom without knowing they were pregnant at all.

A dose of fear and a few dollars would be an easier sacrifice

Than being part of the reality television crowd.

So, I wind up walking through the pharmacy’s automatic doors.

A gust of cool air greets me

The air conditioner working to shield customers from early summer’s oppressive heat.

To anyone else, this trip doesn’t seem particularly life changing.

If it weren’t for what I was coming to buy

It would feel the same to me, too

Just like the other times I’ve come here to buy allergy medicine or makeup or a candy bar.

There’s still the whirring of the soda fountain in the background

And the oldies station on full blast from a radio behind the counter.

“Welcome to Culpepper’s,” the cashier greets me over The Beatles’ “Twist and Shout.”

“Thanks,” I mumble under my breath

Already pacing the aisles.

Ironically, pregnancy tests are located between the feminine hygeine products and contraceptives.

Ha-ha, very funny.

I look over the dozen or so brands they carry

Wondering just what the difference is.

They all promise 99.9% accuracy

And clear results.

I finally settle on First Response

Knowing that the actual date of conception could have been any time between chigetti weekend and the week after Ryan’s party.

Two or four weeks along

I would very much so like to find out if I’m knocked up now.

Looking out for judging eyes

I grab one off the display.

Halfway to the cash register

I realize how obvious just buying the test would be.

I turn around, trying to find some obsecure object to go along with my incriminating purchase.

My eyes fall on a display of miniature tangerines.

There.

I grab a bag of those

And a Cherry Coke from a nearby refrigerator.

With that, I’m off

Carrying my items to the counter.

The cashier gives me a crooked grin as I place my merchandise in front of him

Tangerines first.

He makes eye contact with me as he begins to run them over the scanner

Not seeming to notice or care exactly what I’m buying

Thank God.

“Will that be all?” he asks as he puts the stuff into bags.

A ray of sunlight through the window changes his eye color from brown to gold.

I nod

My tongue feeling too thick to form coherent sentences.

“Y-yes. It is.”

He hands me my bag

Looking down for the first time during our interaction.

“That’ll be $12.99,” he says.

I hand him a ten, three ones, and a spare penny

Before heading for the door

As quickly as possible.

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