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Sweet as Candy: A Novel in Verse

By @Madison

Answers

Of course

I don’t have that much time for self-reflection

Given the fact that Izzy just burst through the door.

As soon as she’s inside

She’s bombarding me with questions of her own

Every one of which I undoubtedly deserve.

Oh, yeah

She’s in a real tizzy

Spitting out inquiries faster than I can process them.

“What happened? Where have you been? Who was that boy? What in the world, Candace?”

Reaching deep within me to find my long-lost sense of responsibility

I do my best to answer all of them.

“I panicked and left. I came straight home to wait for you. That was my friend, Levi DeLuca.”

She freezes

Recognition dawning on her face.

“Levi DeLuca? The Culpepper’s guy?”

Her anger resurfaces

Thinly masking what I think is hurt.

“You called one of your suitors before you called me?”

Rather than finding humor in her all-too-eloquent word choices

I gulp

Before continuing to try to explain myself.

“You were at work. I was scared to call you.”

Though she looks like she wants to scream at me

Izzy’s face falls

As quick as the drop of a pen.

“Scared?”

Her voice softens

Her hurt taking center stage now.

“You’re scared of me, Candace?”

Every word that leaves her mouth trembles

Punctuated by eyes damp with unshed tears.

My heart sinks

Fearing the damage I might have done.

“How could you…”

She can’t finish her sentence

Before she chokes on a sob.

She reaches up to her hair

Tugs at the tawny tresses.

“I hope you know I’m not– I’m not some sort of monster– I wouldn’t force my kid to get an abortion she didn’t want– Candace, why?”

She turns her back to me

Gripping the kitchen counter

Her shoulders beginning to shake.

I want so badly to walk up to her

And wrap her in a comforting embrace.

Except

I’m afraid she won’t hug me back.

Except

Though I know she would be shattered if she knew

Deep down

There’s an intristic part of me

That fears

Some instinctual switch might flip

And make Izzy betray me

Beat me down

Just like Vanessa did.

Just like I fear I will one day.

I so badly want someone else here right now

To help the two of us out of this turbulent sea of emotions

To guide us toward effective conversation.

I silently wish for Alex

Levi

Even Todd

Should he secretly possess some conflict resolution skills

When he isn’t just trying to get someone to jump into bed with him.

None of them show up, of course

Probably because my real life fairy godmother

Is hunched over the kitchen sink

Crying her eyes out.

I try to lift her back up

Only to have my voice break as well.

“Izzy,” I manage through a dam of tears.

She collects herself

Enough to turn around and face me.

I’m pained by the fact

That this seems to pain her

Even more than me.

“I’m sorry,” I tell her.

Now there’s one hell of a truth.

“Please, Izzy. Please forgive me. I can’t stand for you to be mad at me.”

She sighs

Wiping a few tears away.

“I’m not mad at you, Candace,” she says.

“I’m upset, of course. Disheartened, definitely. But not mad.”

I try my best not to flinch at her words

Vaguely reminded of the glint in my dream little boy’s eyes

Before she continues.

“I’m mostly scared,” she says.

“I never expected this to happen, and, now that it’s happening, I have no idea what to do. And that terrifies me.”

She pauses

Interrupted by a coughing noise.

Expecting her to be in the midst of another crying fit

I look up from my feet

Only to find her…

Laughing?

Surely enough

She’s laughing her skinny little butt off

Slapping her knee all the while.

In spite of the situation

I find myself laughing along with her

Both at the absurd turn of events

And how ridiculous her laugh sounds

When she’s also crying and snotting.

“God, Candace,” she cackles.

“You’re always scaring the **** out of me!”

This sends us into another fit of chortles

Because we both know that she never curses.

Once we’re both somewhat composed

Izzy reaches into the cabinet for a glass

And pours herself a generous helping of red wine.

Once it’s filled to the brim

We take seats across from each other at the table.

Finally, we seem to be able to talk to each other for real.

Though this should be a relief

My stomach churns.

I have no clue what happens next

And, as she previously stated

Neither does Izzy.

Truth be told, that’s more than scary.

After taking a hefty sip from her glass

Izzy goes straight for the jugular

Hitting me with the million dollar question

Right off the bat.

“Candace,” she begins.

“Do you really believe you’re ready to have a baby?”

I sit frozen.

Yes.

No.

Maybe.

All these answers swimming in my head

I open my mouth

Only for the truth to spill out.

“I don’t know.”

Though I’m sure she’d appreciate my honesty any other time

This annoys Izzy.

She sighs

Taking another sip.

When she puts her glass back down

Her glare is steely

Dead serious.

“Get comfortable,” she says.

“We’ve got a lot of talking to do. And for every question I ask you, I expect the truth.”

I nod

Biting my tongue

Until I’m afraid it might bleed.

For all my fear of questions

I’m convinced at this point

That the answers are much scarier.

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