Sticky, Sticky Lollipops
“My mommy says your mommy can’t count.” The phrase escaped the child’s innocent mouth, her lips curved up in a sincere smile. He looked at the teeth that stuck out a bit farther than the rest, the gum awkwardly making the lip lift over it a bit more. It had a tinge of yellow crust on it, the tips of that tooth dipped in the blue sucker that she was currently holding in her sticky hands. She popped it back into her mouth. He could see the cracked luminescent ball as her teeth chopped onto the end, making a dent into the paper stick that was engrained into it. Her teeth bit into the stick and her lips slowly descended after them. The gum pulled inwards, sucking in the inside edge of her lips. When they’d finally made their way back over, covering the teeth, the lips drew back into their original position. A thin glistening line of blue sugar coated the innermost part of the goofy smile. Her teeth let go of the stick and it shot upwards through the weight of the ball that was now greedily being sucked on.
“That’s not true.” She didn’t look at Richard when he mumbled back the retort. He didn’t look at her either, his eyes stuck onto that faint blue line which appeared where her lips met. The stick bobbed as she sucked.
They were sitting on the big chair outside, the one that was on the tree and that his mommy thought looked romantic. She always said it was sad that that part of the land was the neighbor’s, because if it wasn’t, she would always be taking walks there with Benoit. Now he was the one sitting in the chair with the cute neighbor. They used to play as kids, but they weren’t kids anymore. They’d both hit the two-digits this summer and her knew that meant that they had to be adults now. He looked at her pale hand that clutched the wooden chair. If only it wasn’t holding the chair, if only it was resting peacefully between them. He shifting his weight slightly, his hand uncomfortable from the upwards-resting position he had left it in. It rested calmly between them, his palm facing the sky. He looked at her lips again.
“Do you have to do all the counting for her?” This time she flicked her eyes up to his, catching him by surprise as he had done the same when he heard the question. His brows creased slightly, and so did hers in return when she saw the movement.
“Are you sure?”
“Well, my Mommy doesn’t lie.” He looked at his open hand, then at hers which was still grasped onto the wood. He pulled his back and shoved it under his leg, swinging both of them a bit.
“Neither does mine.”
“Then you’re lying.” She was clenching the wood harder now; red creases were forming around her joints.
“I don’t lie.”
“Liar liar liar.” He stopped swinging his legs. She shimmied farther away from him on the bench whose shadow was hiding them from the house. He pulled away. She looked at him then looked at the house in the distance. She grabbed the lollipop and popped it out of her mouth, placing it on the chair in between them. She jumped down from the bench and ran back to the house, looking back once to giggle and give him an awkward smile. He watched her run up the front stairs and into the house. His eyes flitted to the abandoned lollipop. He grabbed the paper stick carefully. It had light blue sticky spots on several parts and he made a face at the slimy feeling against his fingers. He got up and walked back to his house.
He chucked the half-eaten sucker into the municipal garbage on his way back.