Two by Susan Tepper

Even on your anniversary you fight.  An argument over who will scan their credit card at the market register.  You say you need the mileage points.  You’re low on points and desperate to go on holiday.  He has lots of points, how can this matter?  He ignores you, as if you haven’t explained and pulls out his own card.  None of this lost on the check-out lady.  She smirks enjoying the entertainment.  You ask for the two cake slices in a separate bag.  At the last minute you had grabbed two slices of chocolate cake from the case.  He saw you, and wagged a finger.  Stood near the paper towels wagging his finger.  At first you pretended not to understand.  But you knew he was ordering you to put the slices back.  You wanted to scream out across the market:  This is our anniversary cake GODDAMMIT!   You held onto them, each in their plastic container, and moved toward him, silently mouthing: you want one too?  Tense-looking, he walked to the bakery case, poked around, then switched his slice to a darker more devious chocolate.  Dense-looking; no pores breathing there.  Then moving quickly he tossed the other food items onto the belt.  A woman checking-out in front of you sensed his aggression; looked startled; grabbing her bag of oranges she left.  You began feeling weak in the knees.  You watched the check-out lady putting the cake slices into a separate bag.  You always did it that way.  To avoid damage.
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13 Comments

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13 responses to “Two by Susan Tepper

  1. Oh dear – haven’t we all been through these tense, horrible, please-get-me-out-of-here-now moments … and this was so aptly featured here. Yes, I like this piece … I would love it but it makes me uncomfortable all over again! Well done!

  2. Love the richness of description and how the details build, subtly but inescapably, to a powerful ending.

  3. A new meaning of the words “food fight” and you’ve presented these characters and their situation beautifully, Susan.

  4. Lou

    Oh my goodness, this is some amazingly condensed and powerful writing. I was right there with her.

  5. randalhoule

    wagging my chocolate covered finger in your general direction…

    where’s the fav button on here? lol

  6. To all you guys who left such great comments: forgive me for the group response but I’m very happy you liked this and thank you!!
    Susan

  7. I love how you use the cake and packaging in the end as a metaphor.

  8. This is really wonderful, made strange and even more compelling by the detached intimacy of the second-person narrative.

  9. Gany and Al, thanks so much for reading and commenting on this one!

  10. Dense looking; no pores breathing there.

    The story’s tension embodied in this line and the darker, more devious looking cake. Love it! Peace…

  11. stephen

    i know this place.
    yikes.
    well played.

  12. Pingback: Week #19 – The Last Time « 52|250 A Year of Flash

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