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When I was little and clever, nurses in crisp white uniforms appeared now and then at school, armed with sugar cubes and needles to protect us from many things. They assured us the diseases would be much worse than the shots. I remained unconvinced. But I always had a plan. Our teacher handed out half-slips of paper for our mothers to sign, one for each of the shots you’d need. Each disease prevented was on a different colored paper. A good year, you’d get just one color, or two and one was purple which was good because that one wasn’t a shot but something they squeezed from an eye dropper onto a sugar cube. Naturally everyone wanted to be protected from that disease.

On my walk home, I’d throw the papers away, cleverly hidden in a neighbor’s trash bin, as sneaky and smooth as if I was disposing of a body. Then my only job was not to look too smug on shot day when everyone else was lining up for pain.

Eventually I got caught and my teacher sent me home with a rainbow mountain of paper permission slips. Everything I’d avoided stapled together.

This is the story playing in my head all the time now, like a song the body forgets it’s humming, as I check the mail each day, waiting for the divorce papers to arrive, waiting for something I can sign.

4 responses »

  1. I remember those sugar cubes! 🙂

  2. That ending is a jolt. Very nice tie in with the inoculations. (I remember the sugar cube, too)

  3. I was hoping you didn’t get caught! Like the others, I also remember the sugar cube and I had a bad reaction to it! “Like a song the body forgets it’s humming,” I like that.


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