Sugar Baby, short fiction published by Flash Frontier
by Michelle Howie
“Her outfit is so sweet!”
Everyone always says so. It must be true. Some comfort to Jen that she is able to dress her baby well. So little else is going well. But clothes, headbands and tiny socks are sweet as.
Sweet outfit. Can you taste the icing sugar on Jamie-Kay playsuits? Does the delicate ribbon disappear on the tongue like an edible garnish? Is the soft pink mitten just the colour of a sugared almond, or can you crack off one tiny finger and smash through to the nutty core?
Jen jumps. The waitress gives her an odd look, then turns to the prize in the pushchair after the cup hits the table. Jen is left staring at her bent back, stranded on the couch where mums sit, separated from her baby but not that worried.
She knows the coffee group will soon hold session. She knows it is favourable that she was here early to secure the couches. Time to assume the position of new-mother-who-is-coping-fine-thanks. Time to ease off the disturbing thoughts about sugared-almond baby fingers.
Her baby is back in view. Eyes travel the café walls and ceiling, jerky neck movements rub the headband this way and that. It slips down, a licorice blindfold. Jen smiles involuntarily. It is funny. Little hands strike forwards as if they’d like to solve this problem on their own. She reaches forwards to gingerly tug the band upwards. Their eyes meet briefly.
Then the other mums arrive.
Published here https://www.flash-frontier.com/march-2021-sweet/#Sugar