Tuesday, 21 June 2011

A Short Story for a Long Day

Photo courtesy of Paul Wilkinson on Flickr

The Addict 

by Sarah Schofield 

He was addicted to tobacco and sulked like a child over the lollipops that his doctor offered as a poor cigarette substitute. The satellite navigation in his Mercedes helped him find the confectioners he’d looked up on the internet.

“What did you like, when you were little?” the woman in the saccharine-lined shop asked.

“I cannot recall,” he said. A pink sugar mouse peeped from under the counter. He rattled the cash in his pocket.

“Coltsfoot rock and liquorice, that’s your sort,” she said and patted him on the hand. His eyes softened at her understanding.

Standing in the shower he looked at the remnants of rose soap his wife had left dissolving in the porcelain dish and sucked coltsfoot out of his molars. He cancelled his afternoon appointments.

“More liquorice?” she asked, as he walked into the shop, shaking her fringe out of her eyes.

“How about dinner?” he said.

The restaurant was beige. She sat opposite him. He was used to seeing her framed in multicoloured fudge and Uncle Joe’s and jelly babies.

But she had brought the aromas with her; candy floss and cola pips. Her earrings dangled like sherbet drops.

“Marzipan fruits are my favourite,” she said, picking at her bread.

He watched her longingly and started to salivate.

“Fisherman’s friends,” he said.

She pushed the asparagus tips round her plate with the fork. He imagined that if he sucked her fingers they would taste sweet, from trailing through the candy jars all day. If he breathed her in, he might head rush, like that first cigarette he’d stolen from his father all those years ago.

The restaurant was starting to empty, and he felt the familiar pull of panic. The mildly frantic gnawing at his thoughts as he glanced round.

He took her hand and asked her to come home with him. She smiled. 

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