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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Flat (01/03/13)

TITLE: The Juice Went Flat
By Emily Ritter


Have you ever enjoyed someone else’s mistake for too long, and then tasted the bitterness of its flatness, and enjoyed it?

The second day of laughing at my husband’s interpretation of what I had asked him to do seemed to be pushing the limits of decency.

“Mix them all together?” he had asked me three times with a baffled tone. “Mix ‘em together?”
“Yes.” I replied.

Earlier that day, I had planned the perfect dinner and evening drink, fillet mignon and expensive juice. For added pizzazz, I bought club soda. It’s clear that the meat would be the showcase for my husband, but for me, I awaited the time when I would feel delicate bubbles of an originally mixed concoction dancing on my tongue and into my belly.
A few minutes before the big feast, I made a classic beginner mistake—grabbed the handle of the fry pan that had just emerged from a 450 degree oven. As I ripped my grasp from the handle, I left the top layer of skin behind.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” I muttered through the pain, with my husband in the next room looking up how to treat a burn on the internet, and telling me to stop apologizing. I ran my hand under cool water, and watched blisters begin to form on the tips of all of my fingers and the palm of my hand.

“Is it blistering?” he asked.
“Yeah. I definitely see blisters.”
“It’s a second degree burn.”

With running water numbing the sting I kept thinking about all the burn victims I had ever seen in person or television, how I’ve never comprehended their pain, not even now in my own second degree discomfort. I felt selfish to have paid more attention to anything other than their wrenching pain.
Finally the 15 minutes of cool water was over, and I had to pry myself away from the sink. The instant the water stopped pain shot through my fingers and ignited my palm. It was as if I was burning it again, but worse. Was the air burning it? “I went through child birth,” I encouraged myself, “I can handle this.”

With a furrowed brow, I sat down, holding my hand up like a trophy. As I grew used to my unavailable grasp (as if I had hoofs), I considered trying to get up and make the drink I had been waiting for, but noticed the willingness of husband at my side.

“Mix them all together?” he asked.
“Yes.” I encouraged.

He entered the room triumphantly with stemware in his hand. “What a brilliant guy,” I thought. The tolerable mix he created sloppily pirouetted upon my tongue, and fumbled a sashay into my belly. And I was grateful. But I anticipated getting the chance to make my own combination.

With much less pain the next day, I went searching for the juices. I found an empty bottle on the counter, and was immediately stunned. “Who drank this?” I thought. And then I found the other empty bottle? “What?” I opened the fridge; there sat two full pitchers of juice mixed exactly as I had tasted the night before. I busted out laughing, in utter surprise. “Who would have thought to mix all of it?” I was elated by the confusion that had taken place.
My husband was bashful about the mix-up. “It’s fine.” I reassured. “I’ll just give it to Henry (our 1 year old).”

“You can’t.” he admitted, “because of the fizz.” I again rolled into laughter.
“You put the club soda in there too?”

We’ve been drinking the juice for two weeks now, and today is likely the last day for any fizz. The flavor of the club soda will continue, a dull, sour saltiness. But that flavor tastes like love. It tastes like my husband’s willingness to jump into something that sounds totally foreign to him, with the gumption: I’m doing it for my wife. Sometimes we get flat results, but always laughter.

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This article has been read 241 times
Member Comments
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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/11/13
This is a great story. You had me grinning right from the beginning. I really liked how you showed the husband's life for his wife.

You had some tiny errors like “Yes.” I replied. There should be a comma after "Yes," because you used the tagline I replied and that's not a complete sentence without the words that she replied. If you use a narrative like this: "Yes." I rolled my eyes as he fumbled with the glasses. Then the Yes can stand on it's own because her actions are a complete sentence. I hope that makes sense. If you have any questions feel free to PM me.

I like how you used the topic. When I was trying to come up with something the idea of flat pop (or soda) never entered my head. I think it is a fresh and creative take on the subject. I don't know f I could have tolerated it for 2 weeks but I still liked your ending. Oh what we do for the people we love. This was a delight to read.
Bonnie Bowden 01/11/13
Nothing worse than a burn. I'm glad the story had such a happy ending. It sounds like you have a gem of a husband.
Sarah Elisabeth 01/11/13
Cute story! You do well with including lots of detail to create the scene.

The switching around at the beginning had me a little confused as far as what the story was about. I wasn't clear on how the opening sentences matched the ending. You might want to get a writer friend (you can look for a challenge buddy on the forums if you haven't already) who can read over your entry and make sure everything is clear. We are often too close to our stories (especially if it's personal experience) to know whether or not it flows.

Great job on drawing me into the story, keep writing!
Meghan Andersch 01/13/13
I loved your story. It reminds me of how my husband and I sometimes seem to speak different languages. :)
C D Swanson 01/14/13
Awww. This was an adorable story and it made my heart smile. God bless~