Dear Wigleaf,
Right here is where Mrs. Gundy had her candy shop. Christ, candy shop—what a place, what a concept! Was there a cobbler next door, a cooper? Ayyy, hard to fathom…
What I remember is scant, and yet to you, who know nothing of her, it will seem a plenitude. How her braids pitched like tassels and eased from brown into white. How her black lab, Triceratops, could be heard patrolling the back room, occasionally trapping himself with the mops. How her laugh was that of a diver coming upon a wrecked ship called something like "Merriment"—conserving oxygen. These weren't her quirks, though.
The candy was in rows, and she'd equipped the bins with scoops and labeled each with a little portrait of hands with a red slash running through the middle. She didn't want your grabby grabs in 'em. Nor your grubby paws, and definitely not your filthy mitts. As I grew and could reach higher I came to realize that each pair she’d drawn or pasteled or painted was unique: the hands over the Swedish fish were knotty and callused, and the hands on the loganberry sours were a church organist's, and the hands on the peanut caramel zombie clusters were kind of zombieish. Whence this obsession? There were whispers: Naples…her son… a stranger with a face like an iron....
It's been decades, but these things echo. Like even now, I won’t tell you what kind of candy I'm chomping on, but I'll confess that I'm staring into my hands, wondering, still, what to do with them.
Any ideas?


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Read TH's story, "Urban Planning: Case Study #7."

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