She ripped his love letters into shreds because he brought carrots for her horse.
|Writer's Cramp: New Prompt: Write a story or poem containing the following: a photo frame, a carrot, a cat, and a highlighter. Bold the items so the judge can find them easily and make sure to include a word or line count.
The Carrot Carats
I threw the photo frame out with his picture. Then I used a yellow highlighter to emphasize his name on every love letter he'd ever sent me. I highlighted in turquoise every time he'd said he loved me, then in pink all the occasions where he'd used a love word: dear, baby, sweetpea, and lover. When finished, I took out my scissors and cut all the lies away. Slash, slash - thirty-six times. All the pieces made a colorful pile on the top of my white bedspread.
I was crying hard by then. My cat jumped up to cheer me. She brushed her head against my face, and her purr rumbled an "I love you," one much truer than those Danny had offered me. I reached up and petted around her ears, massaged under her chin, and scratched at the sides of her cheeks. Her purr crescendoed. She flitted her pale pink tongue across my arm, then plopped down beside me, on top of the highlighted words and the stack of cut-up love notes.
"Velvet Ears, you're worth two of him," I told the kitty as I continued to rub her choice spots. I suppose the two of us would have continued consoling each other, but the phone rang, a sound the always scared the cat. With a screechy meow from her distant Siamese ancestry, Velvet Ears dashed away, running into the closet, where she'd probably hide for the next hour.
Laughing softly, I turned and picked up the phone. "Hello."
"I'm sorry, Sarah. It was all my fault."
I almost slammed down the phone, but his voice sounded so sad. I listened, not saying anything.
"I know I'm a fool. Please, say you'll forgive me. I really didn't mean to make fun of you. Honest."
I sighed, sniffling, then wiped away a tear. My hand scooted the worthless papers off my bed. "I'm listening," I said.
"When I heard you talking to Tania, I just got confused. I thought you were talking about horses. I really did think you needed, I mean you wanted . . . I know it sounds foolish now. Give me a chance, please."
"A chance to do what?" I sobbed. "Embarrass me again?"
"Sweetpea, you know that's not what I meant. I thought you wanted me to bring you carrots, the edible kind. How I was supposed to know . . ."
"You weren't. You weren't even supposed to be listening. That conversation was private. It was between Tania and me."
I grabbed the tissue box and ripped out several. The tissues tore, giving me half-pieces. I snatched the whole box and pulled myself up against the wall. Holding the phone in one hand, the tissue box in the other, I worked at stopping the waterfall in my eyes.
"Susie, listen. If you want the real thing . . ."
"You'll what? Wrap up an apple next time? Give me a gift wrapped box of kiwis?"
"I love you, sweetpea. You have to trust me."
"Trust you to do what? To make everyone laugh at me again? You knew what I thought it was. You put those carrots in a box, tied it up with a bow, just like it was supposed to be a . . . "
"A ring? Hardly, Susie. That box was too big for a ring."
"Are you laughing at me?" I almost choked on my sobs. I was angry . . . no furious. Enraged at him, yet the stupid tears kept flowing like a rain-logged creek.
"Susie, please don't cry. I want to give you a ring. Only, we're not ready."
"You're not ready," I shouted, my voice taking on the shriek of a stranger.
"You know that's not right, sweetpea. I want us to get married someday. But I'm broke. I spent the last of my paper route money on those stupid carrots, carrots I never should have bought. I didn't mean to hurt you."
I sighed and fought for breath. "I tore up your letters, Danny," I whispered.
"Yes. All of them. They're scraps. Tiny scraps of paper."
"Then I'll write you so more, Susie. Lots more. And one day, after we're out of high school, when we're adults and can earn big money, I'm going to buy you that ring, a real ring with lots of carats."
"Danny? My horse did like the carrots."