The sticky stuff
The candy gets on the inside because we eat it and eat it like thieves, like children under the great burr of clouds made by a god in a slothful mood. The candy gets on the outside and sticks like tragedy, marking us as the worst type of person. It sticks like the worst time. What was the worst time? We can’t remember it, but we can feel it like a smear of embers inside our small chests. The worst time was when G. had to push the Witch. The worst time was when Father left us in the woods with nothing but crumbs and stones. The worst time was when he did it again, and we knew he was lying. The worst time was when Mother died and everything after that. We remember everything of course. We’re broken, not naive. We remember the sharp wind moving the yellow leaves across the Woods as we walked on and on looking for nothing, though we were very hungry and cold and felt a new bad feeling, a sticky burning that kept us moving. Then we ate the candy and could not stop eating. The worst time was when the Witch gripped H.’s hand and told him to stop eating. The worst time was hearing the Witch screaming, though she had wanted to kill us and eat us. Other things stick to the candy, such as other adults’ remarks about our greediness and astonishing cruelty. We should be more forgiving like normal children they say. Those remarks stick because we don’t know who they belong to—them or us—and sometimes we don’t know if the words are on the outside or not.