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Sweet as Candy: A Novel in Verse

By @Madison

Curtain Call

As afraid as I am

I do honestly answer every question that she asks.

The problem is 

Nearly every truth is some variant of the exact same sentence:

“I don’t know.”

“No idea.”

“Ummm…”

I’m pretty sure the only way Izzy stays sane throughout the exchange

Is the help of her handy dandy wine glass

Which she refills at least three times

Without batting an eyelash,

Finally, she releases me from questioning 

Though she makes me promise 

To keep thinking about things

Options

Plans.

I swear that I will 

And mean it wholeheartedly.

In the end

I take a shower 

To wash away the day

Then return to the kitchen.

I do make myself a microwave dinner

Though I skip the reality show

And the two hour nap.

As Izzy reminded me

I have big responsibilities to attend to

So I take my frozen stir fry to my bedroom

To think everything through

Somewhere quiet. 

As I eat

My cell phone stares up at me incriminatingly

Reminding me what step one 

Should probably be.

It’s true that it takes two to tango.

Unfortunately, at this point in my life

Todd has been my one and only dance partner,

I’ve been dancing around him for weeks now

Knowing that

Should I close the distance between us

I’d be bound to step on his toes.

Once every bit of my dinner is gone

I decide that it’s finally time

For our grand finale. 

After I’ve disposed of my garbage

I leave no time for further procrastination.

My hands shake ever so slightly

As I click the call button on Todd’s contact.

I try my best not to think of hanging up

And blaming a butt dial

While I wait for him to answer.

He picks up on the third ring

Making it clear that that’s no longer an option.

“Hello?”

I take a deep breath

Before putting on a brave face

That he can’t see.

“Hi, Todd.”

Though I can’t see his face

I can feel him lighting up.

I don’t mean a smoke, either.

“Hey, baby!” he exclaims.

I cringe at that second word

Suddenly hit by a terrible sense of guilt. 

Maybe I’m too tired for this tonight. 

Maybe I should have waited until tomorrow.

Oh, well.

There’s no going back now.

“Long time no talk,” he continues

As if that wasn’t obvious.

“We’ve got some catching up to do. So, you want me to come pick you up somewhere? We could go to the movies, or the park… or back to my place.”

Good God. 

If Levi’s a deer

Todd is most definitely a rabbit.

Ha!

Bambi and Thumper.

What does that make me, then?

The skunk?

Focus, Candace.

“I’ll pass,” I say. 

“I’m not feeling so great lately. Besides, there’s something I’ve been wanting to talk to you about.”

“Uh oh.”

His voice is muffled

As if he’s talking out of one side of his mouth. 

Now he must be reaching for a cigarette. 

“That’s never good. Last time somebody wanted to talk to me about something, my bro Billy had knocked his girlfriend up. You know Billy, yeah?”

Oh, God.

I’m about to have a stroke.

If I survive this phone call

I’ll make a point to Google how common strokes are 

Amongst pregnant seventeen-year-olds.

Would there even be statistics for that sort of thing?

Probably not.

“Candace?”

******!

I got distracted again!

Even worse

Todd’s picking up on it. 

“You still there?” 

“Yeah,” I reply quickly. 

“Good,” he says.

“I was starting to think I’d bored you to sleep. Now, you were telling me something?”

Okay.

It’s now or never, 

With my newfound honesty in place

I let the truth come out. 

“I don’t think we should see each other anymore.”

As soon as the words are out of my mouth

Silence sets in. 

I wait and wait for a reply

But get nothing.

Finally, I decide that I should be leading our breakup dance

So I make the next move. 

“Todd? Are you okay?”

“Yeah.”

Though his words are affirmative 

His voice is anything but. 

“I mean, I guess I should have seen it coming. You’ve been ignoring me for weeks. You wouldn’t even talk to me, let alone let me see you… I just don’t know why.”

My stomach sinks. 

Apparently, I’ve reached my truth-telling quota for the day

Because I seem to be unable to expose the elephant in the room. 

“It’s just time, I guess,” I tell him

Trying my best to keep my voice gentle and convincing. 

“I’m just not happy anymore, Todd. And if I’m not happy, it’s only a matter of time before you aren’t, either. I don’t want to do that to you.”

He laughs a humorless laugh.

“Do you really think I’m happy now?”

I’m surprised by the edge in his voice

As he continues.

“Life isn’t a **** bed of roses, Candace. When you’re not happy with a relationship, you say something. You don’t just mope for weeks on end, then try to let me down easy.”

He pauses.

Just when I think he’s done, he starts again

His voice quieter now.

“If you aren’t happy, I can make you happy.”

His voice is so full of hope

It makes my chest hurt.

“Why can’t you just let me try?”

I can’t think of an answer to that

So I just sigh. 

“Todd, I really have to go.”

He snorts. 

“Yeah, obviously. Goodnight, Candace. Hope you’re less miserable now.”

I shake my head

Pulling the phone away from my ear.

When I go to hang up

I realize he already has.

The curtain falls

Concluding our disastrous dance.

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