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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Savory to the Taste (07/26/12)

TITLE: Molasses Danced on Her Tongue
By Addie Pleasance


Andrea awoke one June morning with a taste on her tongue. It was lovely and startling: chicken, baby peas, a cream sauce, buttery crust. Chicken pot pie, she thought. I haven’t had that in years. But something else was layered there; was it . . . sadness?

The taste lingered most of the day, politely receding when Andrea had breakfast and lunch, reasserting itself in quiet moments. Never obnoxious, it was more like a whisper to Andrea’s spirit. Chicken pot pie . . . sadness. Remember this.

Late that afternoon, in line at the bank, Andrea heard a conversation behind her.

“Are things . . . better?”

“I don’t know what to do any more. I even made his favorite meal. He just walks away.”

Certainty settled into Andrea’s stomach; the woman behind her had made chicken pot pie for her husband. And with that certainty, the taste faded, leaving her tongue feeling as if some vital part had gone missing. How strange.

She was not surprised, a week later, when she awoke to the taste of a cheese soufflé. She lingered in bed, studying the odd sensation. Parmesan . . . mustard . . . cheddar . . . garlic . . . and what else, what else? Joy.

Whoever made this soufflé had done so with joy.

Andrea had no doubt that she would find the soufflé-maker; she only wondered at the significance of her very peculiar gift. When she set out for a walk around town, she listened to her tongue at every house. There—there it was, at a ramshackle bungalow greatly in need of paint. The house looked tattered, neglected, but the joy of the woman hanging laundry was unmistakable, even as the soufflé faded from Andrea’s palate.

Over the next few weeks, as summer slipped away, Andrea learned to wait every morning, to examine her tongue for anything beyond sleepy contentment and the staleness of morning. It didn’t come every day, but when it did, it was with an imperative: Go and find this person. She never spoke to the people, once she found them. What would she say? I can taste the casserole you made last night. Are you grieving? Or I’d like your recipe for onion quiche, and to know what made you laugh. Or that clam chowder was superb, but you’re far too angry.

No, she couldn’t say any of those things. She just waited. Soon, she thought, the reason for her gift would be apparent.

Late in August, a new taste came with the sunrise—something barbecued in a piquant sauce of tomatoes, vinegar, molasses, chilies. Andrea waited for the accompanying emotion and finally located it resting lightly on her heart. Lonely. Whoever had made this dish was lonely.

She walked for two hours that day, into parts of town she’d never visited. Nothing. She got into her car and made stops at the library, the post office, the market. Nothing, and as the daylight hours dwindled, so did the tang of barbecue.

Andrea slept restlessly, feeling that she’d failed.

The next day, mouth full of emptiness, she drove to her first-grade classroom to put up bulletin boards. She felt annoyed, prickly. The day was hot, the air conditioning in the school building sluggish. Andrea greeted a few other grumbling teachers who had come in to prepare their classrooms, then gathered her damp hair into a ponytail.

She was stapling yellow construction paper to the cork board when she felt it—the loneliness first, then a familiar vinegary tang. This is getting old, she thought. It doesn’t seem to have a purpose. Besides, I can’t find the lonely person. And what am I supposed to do, anyway? She pushed her bangs off her forehead, leaving a smudge of classroom dust.

The taste grew stronger. Andrea stepped off the child-sized chair she’d been standing on and headed for the drinking fountain, irritated.

A little boy was standing in her doorway, and as Andrea opened her mouth to speak, a shortish, balding man stepped up behind him. “This is Ian,” he said. “He’ll be in your class this year—if you’re Mrs. Daugherty.”

“Miss Daugherty,” said Andrea. “Nice to meet you, Ian.” She bent to shake Ian’s hand and looked up at his father. “Andrea Daugherty. Ian wasn’t in kindergarten here, was he?” Molasses danced on her tongue.

“No, he . . . Ian and I just moved here. Didn’t we, bud?” Ian nodded solemnly, then looked at the floor. His dad squeezed his shoulder. There was a spatter of tomato sauce on the man’s blue tee-shirt.

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This article has been read 789 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Ellen Carr 08/03/12
This is very creative and an interesting 'fantasy' re tastes. I enjoyed it.
C D Swanson 08/03/12
Wow - I found this to be extremely clever and a creative take on the subject.

I loved how you described the tastes bringing them to life for the reader. I was curious to find out who it was for the "tomato" taste with molasses.

It was cute, poignant and different. One can imagine what happens next...nice job with this.

God bless~
Janice Cartwright08/03/12
You did a really great job here. Reminded me of "The Heart Reader." This was out of the box breative, my favorite kind of writing.
Janice Cartwright08/03/12
'Breative' is a real word. To be sure I looked it up: it means NO DICTIONARY RESULTS :)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/03/12
This was so creative. It made me think of some of my favorite type of TV shows (The Mentalist, Perception, ) This MC would be ideal for a show that didn't solve crimes but they mystery and suspense comes from listening to God and obeying. I wondered if the real message in this piece was to recognize when God lays a person on our hearts. We aren't meant to solve their problems, though helping is good. But more we are called to do the most powerful weapon in our arsenal--prayer. What many often think that "it's the least we can do." In truth it's the most. You cleverly showed this in an exciting and suspenseful take on the topic.
Hiram Claudio08/06/12
What a special and well crafted peice. you really did hit the topic well while doing so in and "out of the box" way. I thought the writing was easy and flowed well - it held my interest through tot he end. Nice work!
Karen Pourbabaee 08/07/12
Hmmm...culinary missionary...i found this refreshingly creative and well crafted!
Julie Seeto08/08/12
I loved this story - such a creative slant on the topic and so well written. I was intrigued from start to finish and loved your title - almost dances on my tongue... Thanks for writing.
Leola Ogle 08/08/12
What a clever and creative take on the topic. I love it. Well written. Good job! God bless!
Edmond Ng 08/08/12
An interesting story. If only we can comprehend how a person feels by savoring the food the person eats or cooks, it would be really nice to know how we can meet the other's needs. A nicely written piece.
C D Swanson 08/09/12

God bless~
Hiram Claudio08/09/12
WOW! Not only 1st place in our level but 1st place overall (EC standings). Awesome work!!!
Jody Day 08/09/12
Extremely creative and very well done. Congratulations!
Leola Ogle 08/09/12
Congrats Addie! Good job!
Myrna Noyes08/09/12
CONGRATULATIONS!! :D Your story truly was creative and very, very well-written! Your descriptions were excellent, it all flowed well, and your title was perfect!
Danielle King 08/09/12
This is truly amazing! Congratulations on a very well deserved top spot!
Noel Mitaxa 08/09/12
Congratulations on your win, and thank you for taking us through this trip along our tastebuds.
Ellen Carr 08/09/12
Congratulations!! A well deserved overall win and L3 win!
Wilma Schlegel08/10/12
What a unique gift! This is an intriguing, delightful read. Congratulations!
Pam Carlson-Hetland08/10/12
What a delightful and mysterious piece. It kept my attention all the way through, extremely creative. Great writing and congrats on your EC win.