Friday, October 7, 2011

#RomanticFridayWriters - Rock Candy -
The CandyMan - Betty & Jack

How can a man pick up the nickname The CandyMan?  Skilled hands are a good first step...

For the rest of the RFW poems & stories, by writers who always bring a smile to my face, go here.

Denise (aka L'Aussie) & Francine, thank you so very much for starting this group, doing all the work to keep it going, and giving us such challenging prompts. This week, Challenge #22, is Rock Candy.

UK seaside rock candy is a stick of sweet hard candy with lettering throughout. The lettering usually has the name of the seaside resort, i.e,  Weymouth, Black Pool, Brighton (rock) etc.

If you're wondering how (English) rock candy is made with the lettering inside, here's a cool clip.

Now, on with the story.  The CandyMan - Word Count: 388; FCA (Full Critique Acceptable - and requested, thank you!)

She began calling him The CandyMan, after one lazy morning in bed, when they’d watched the “How It’s Made” series on rock candy with the cute little designs in the middle.  CandyMan fit because he heated her blood to boiling, stirred her senses, touched and worked her with skilled hands (and other parts), stretching out her pleasure unbelievably...  Finally leaving her with lingering tastes of sweetness that could last all day.

He did always leave his socks on the floor though.
Betty stared at the blinking cursor.  And stared, and stared.

Jack came into the room, kissed the top of her head.  “Good stuff,” he said, reading the screen.  “Z’at about me?  Hey, I’m getting better at getting my socks into the hamper.”

She burst into tears.  “I can’t do this, Jack, I can’t, I can’t!”

“Sssh, sssh, honey,” he coaxed her away from the computer, led her over to the big, secondhand rocking chair they'd bought.  Sitting down in it, he cuddled her against his broad, warm chest.  “You don’t have to rush back into this.  Maybe it’s too soon.”

“I have to, though, I have to go back to writing again.  I can’t just sit around, all I do is think of our baby.  I feel so empty.”

Betty felt her husband’s tears splash down to join hers.  “I miss him too,” he said. “What kind of father am I?  I couldn’t save him, or you, I feel so fucking helpless...” Jack began sobbing harder, the big, hiccoughing kind of crying that shook his whole body, and Betty joined in.

They rocked and wailed, wailed and rocked, until their sobs tapered away and the light dimmed in the room.  Betty was left with the soothing rhythm of Jack’s breathing against her body, his large, strong hand rubbing her back, the comfort of his cheek laid on top of her head.

A loud gurgle echoed in the room.  Betty giggled.  “Was that your tummy, or mine?”
“That had to be yours.  My stomach has better manners,” he teased.  “I guess I should go make us some dinner.”

“I will.”

“No, honey, you go back to your writing for a little while.  I’ll make dinner tonight.”

Betty sat in front of the screen again.  She typed:
CandyMan was also sweet in other ways.  Showing his affection, making dinner...

National Share Group on FaceBook
October is also Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month. Almost certainly someone you love,  someone you work with, or you yourself, have lost a baby, either in utero or shortly after birth.  Yet until recently, there has been little public awareness and support for parents suffering such a loss.

Mostly people, including the grieving parents, have simply pretended it never happened.  We're realizing now, this is not particularly helpful or healing, but since we weren't brought up to talk about this, how do we support such losses?

from National Share Office
Say “I’m Sorry”
If you can’t find the right words, it is better to say, “I’m sorry,” than nothing at all.

Avoid Clichés
“Everything happens for a reason.”
“Thank goodness you are young, you can still have more children.”
“There must have been something wrong with the baby.”
“I understand how you feel.” (unless you have an experience to share)
“It was meant to be.”
“You have an angel in heaven.”
“At least you didn’t get to know the baby.”
“You are so strong, I could never handle this.”
“I guess it’s good it happened now.”
“At least you have children at home.”
“God would never give you more than you could handle.”

What may seem comforting to you may be very hurtful to others.  Clichés tend to minimize the loss and the emotions a parent has toward their baby.

Say “I Don’t Know What to Say”
If you are unaware of what to say, simply say, “I don’t know what to say.”  Honesty can be more comforting than words with less meaning. 
Silence Can Be Okay
Sometimes there is just nothing to say.  Just be quiet, be with them, hold their hand, touch their shoulder, or give them a hug.

Apologize for Hurtful Comments
If you do say something insensitive, acknowledge it and apologize.  These comments can cause hurt and future resentment.

For more information on how to support someone who has lost a baby or a pregnancy, National Share Office.

If you have lost a baby or pregnancy, whether you are a father or mother, don't feel you have to "be brave" or "battle through."  Tell loved ones when you are feeling down or need help.  Join support groups, either locally or online.  You are not alone, and it is normal to grieve your loss.


 I hope you found the story above entertaining, romantic and hopeful.  My goal, besides writing to the prompt of Rock Candy, is to show that although sadly, those who have a lost a baby can "turn" on each other and lose the relationship too, that the shared loss can bring them closer together.

Please feel free to offer and and all feedback, and let me know if you found the story too preachy.  (I promise, not all my RFW stories will carry an awareness message!)

The Romantic Friday Writers weekly blogfest is open to all writers of romantic fiction. Wanna join the party? Click here for submission info.

Your thoughts?