Krista has the personality of supermarket cereal—an aggressive love of color and cartoons, easily swayed by sweetness. I make myself indispensable to her, knowing her weakness for chocolate tree stumps and peach chews and Costco tanks of jellybeans. She came over like usual and I unwrapped each candy for her until plastic flossed my teeth. We kiss during the commercials that try to sell us fate in flavors we have yet to taste: new Polly Pockets, grape syrup to help you sleep and sleep, girls that disappear in our neighborhood, into cars that are too nice for our neighborhood. Her tongue is a hot pocket of oil, and I wipe my mouth each time she pulls away to watch a yellow sponge make a fool of himself. I laugh when she laughs, though she cannot explain the jokes when I ask. She listens for the jingles; I listen for the garage door peeling open, laying the blanket over the glittering wrappers like a tongue when Mama walks in. Krista holds my hand under the wool, sour bullets metastasizing in her palm, cherry-red and sticky as the pulse between my legs. Mama sends Krista to 7-11 to buy chips, the kind that will strip your tongue of taste, with coins we excavate from the house: under the carpet, between cockroaches and stains that Mama teaches me geography with. When Krista leaves through the hole in the screen door, an exit wound that will never heal, Mama will not look at me, which is almost worse than if she painted my back with taffy stripes. The yellow sponge behind us babbles and goes to war with the ones he loves. I wonder about my tongue, why it salivates when it does, why it turns into Swiss cheese, sour and full of holes, when I need to speak with Mama. She tells me she has no words for what I am, what Krista has spoiled within me. It takes us years to finish the candy. I chew past the expiration dates, because I want to believe they are as artificial as the sweetness they label. That some things are as malleable as a piece of candy between your fingers, even if they were meant to disappear on your tongue.
Star Su grew up in Ann Arbor and is a recent graduate of Brown University. Her fiction appears or is forthcoming in The Offing, Jellyfish Review, Pithead Chapel, & elsewhere. They read flash for Split Lip Magazine. Find them on Twitter: @stars_su.
Featured Artwork: Untitled (Collage I) Collage Marissa Geoffroy is a painter, photographer and sculptor. She is intrigued by spaces and architecture, and by the philosophical implications of human perception. She is also a founding member of Borderline Art Collective, which aims to support local artists, provide a venue for discourse, and expand art appreciation in the Bay Area. marissageoffroy.com