Fiction

Salt and sugar

By: Kitty Chu

There was salt on the counter until there wasn’t because it’d been laid neatly, heavily packed on raw cut fresh flesh to clot the blood that had been spilling from my arm, eyes, and ears bursting with anger and sadness that pooled onto the cold floor I warmed with my life substance with space in between myself and the ground as I bent my knees to touch the heels of my feet and sat upright to bow my body to the spirits to mourn the unspoken apologies dirtied by the dripping blood since I was bleeding and I’d bled and bloodied the floor when Mother’s words pierced my saturated and plump body fed with insults and regrets from an ancient time when childhood dinners with family were a thing as if a happy family had once existed in my lifetime and I had two parents and divorces were only applicable to outgrowing baby food and cradles that rocked me to sleep like when Dad rocked Mom in another cradle that nurtured a broken love only to be officially announced as broken in papers, but before then, their room reeked of young lust and misery and emptiness that soon mirrored the newfound vacancy of the room, now only her room was speaking truths that Mom couldn’t accept and I didn’t know how to assess any of it because we never talked about any of it or anything at all and the deafening silence rang louder each time company was denied when the doorbell sang an escape that only mocked me with a double-locked and double-closed door refusing to be touched and opened even though I wanted to leave but didn’t know how to because when I asked to go outside, Mom told me “no,” making me red with anger, making her red with anger— our angers mingling like gasoline and fire, scorching our mellowed souls and burned them: our soul and words turned into ashes and the sky fell into a deep sleep as my skin went to paint the purple and blue hues of its canvas on itself to remember the night I don’t fully remember, but I think it started when I didn’t know how to respond when Mom smacked me with a broom and dustpan until it snapped in half like her temper and signaled the end of tonight’s war with a mom’s parting words telling me to clean myself up after my veins had popped and shattered like her marriage, but I couldn’t say that or the tampered soul would probably hit me again and I’d probably make another red mess so I shut my trap and listened for once— I did what she told me to do and I went to the kitchen to rinse my wound with water and the water turned red like the fire sunset blazing in the sky that summer evening when the house was blanketed by a suffocating heat that cooked my insides I said were raw but are probably well-done by now to safely eat and slice cleanly and season with sprinkles of salt I stole because hurt was the only remedy I knew, but the shifty crystals stung more this time when they danced in the crevices of my wounds that screamed in broken sensations of hurt wanting for sweet words to calm my shaky breath that begged for sugar in a low voice, a deep bass tone reverberated— echoed into the hollows of the empty mind I purposely emptied to make room for the bullshit excuses I would ingest to justify shitty parenting, which would corrupt my tastebuds, making the taste of savory turn sweet as if I’d found sugar in the salt made me relieved so I whispered happy prayers when the pain stopped since my mind went numb when the red blood turned crimson and everything was dry like those empty wine bottles lined on the granite countertops opened nightly until drunken fully and thrown into the collection by Mom and Mom didn’t know that they were hers because she was alone with her mind outside her body and her body empty of everything but excuses she swallowed and suppressed with liquor meals, which were sugar to her since Merlot was sweet relief and I couldn’t argue because I don’t exist in her drunken thoughts she didn’t have a daughter to care for who stole her teenage years and that shit stings so I pour salt on these cuts because sugar is too sweet and it’d be a lie to tell myself I’m blissful.

Categories: Fiction

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