The Caramel Underdogs

By Fiona M., age 12
The Caramel Underdogs

“You loved (love?) him and cared (care?) for him and missed (miss?) him when he went out late to perform at pubs. Why can’t that be again? You and him, you are two pieces of a puzzle that make up both your lives and you fit. Perfectly.”

There are so many things that remind him of you. Just so many. Too many. Like Kleenex and ironic hair ties and giraffe statues and italics and Jewish holidays and metaphors and Bulls-Eyes caramel creams. Especially the caramels. His heart rips a little bit every time he sees a Goetze’s Bulls-Eyes caramel cream because Goetze’s were your favorite. And his heart is completely torn now because he still buys those Bulls-Eyes caramel creams, the Goetze’s if he dares, because it reminds him of you and it cuts deep into his heart, and that’s why he likes them. It’s a habit of his, those caramels. Because of you. You made him fall in love with those Bulls-Eyes caramel creams the way you made him fall in love with you. Softly and truly. You truly did love him at one point. And every time he buys those Bulls-Eyes caramels he smiles and swings his arms and puts a cute little bounce in his step. That’s what you called it. A cute little bounce. It was the bounce he did when he was with you. So he does that little half-smile and arm-swinging and cute-bouncy-step while imagining your hand in his. Your bright eyes on him. Your teeth separating the caramel part from the cream part of the Goetze’s Bulls-Eyes caramel cream, which was the same way he ate it. Was and is. He still loves you and you know he does. You forget it though, because it has been so long since you broke his heart. You can tell, though, how much he misses you, because when you see him in class at college the air is thick between you and he doesn’t wave, but he stares, a pleading stare that has words behind it. Why’d you leave? Was it me? Us? You? Does that matter? Will you ever come back?

Will you?

And does it matter? Because he has started to encase his heart in a wall, a wall

that will keep out any more people who love him because he doesn’t want someone breaking him again.

It’s a bit like the caramel coating around the cream in the Goetze’s Bulls-Eyes caramels. He loves them so much that he is becoming one himself. Caramel walls around the creamy sugar center, his soft heart, if there are any pieces left, his soft heart, so vulnerable and gullible. But see, you can fix him. The wall is made of caramel and if you try, you can bite through it and find the creamy loving center. But you have to do it soon, because you feel it –– he’s missing you so, so much, so much it’s hurting him almost more than when you broke his heart, and if this keeps on those caramel walls will turn to stone. And you can’t stomach stone. It’s much harder to chip away at the stone for so many years. You loved (love?) him and cared (care?) for him and missed (miss?) him when he went out late to perform at pubs. Why can’t that be again? You and him, you are two pieces of a puzzle that make up both your lives and you fit. Perfectly. Without you there will always be a puzzle piece missing from his life and no matter how long he looks under tables and chairs he won’t be able to find you. And you won’t be able to find him unless you choose to take him back. The air is thick when you see him in school again, and nothing’s right, and it’s awkward air, stale air, air that he is avoiding breathing in because he knows you are breathing it too. But it clears when you stare back at him and acknowledge him, smiling, and catch him in the hallway after class and slip your hand in his, hearing it click into place because your hands always just fit perfectly in one another’s, and say I’m sorry, can you forgive me? Ever? And even when he says I don’t know if I ever can, you know that means yes because you loved him so much, knew him so well. Or maybe it’s because you still love him so much. Know him so well. Just like your caramels.

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