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Sweet as Candy: A Novel in Verse

By @Madison

The Candace Contract

Izzy just sits there for a while

Stone faced and pale.

For a while

I think she may throw up, too.

After an unbearable amount of silence

She takes a deep breath

Standing up on shaking legs

And leaving the bathroom without another word.

Before long, I hear the slamming of the back door.

I sigh and stand up

Grabbing my toothbrush.

I brush my teeth and wash my hands

Before cutting the light off

And heading for the living room.

I can hear Izzy outside

Talking to Alex.

Her words come out too quickly for me to make out

But I can tell by the quaver of her voice that she’s crying.

In that moment, I feel worse than I have since I first found out.

Alex stays quiet

Hopefully just being a good boyfriend and allowing her to vent

Rather than being rendered speechless by how horrible I am.

Once Izzy’s rant begins to slow down

He finally speaks.

Unlike Izzy, his voice is calm and clear

Completely composed.

“Calm down, Iz,” he says.

I hear Izzy take a deep breath

Followed by a shaking sob

And six words that absolutely break me.

“I didn’t sign up for this.”

Alex sighs.

“Izzy,” he says.

“You didn’t sign up for anything with Candace. Sure, the situation that brought her to you was less than ideal, and you took a huge risk by taking her, but, in the end, you’re just like any other parent.”

When he pauses

I do, too

My whole body trembling as I sit down on the couch.

When he speaks again

His words seem to strike me in the heart.

“You didn’t sign up for anything but loving that little girl,” he says.

“And you did, and you will. Right?”

A brief silence follows

The only sound being Izzy’s shaky breathing.

Finally, Alex seems to get the affirmation he needs.

“Good,” he says.

“That’s all you have to do.”

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