"Sugar Cookie" by Taylor Sezen
The store was fairly empty that day. Most people were at work or in school at this hour. It wasn’t even lunch yet. A young mother and her son entered together.
“Do you want to sit inside the basket?” she asked.
The boy shook his head, allowing his curls to bounce. “I wanna push the basket!” he replied and made grabby hands.
“You can help me.” She helped him reach the handle and let him help her push the basket through the store.
They went through the closest isle first, picking up a variety of items along the way. Crackers, spices, quinoa. The boy wrinkled his nose each time his mother brought quinoa home. He wasn’t a fan. What he was a fan of was the yogurt. It was plain, but he always found a way to make it sweet. His favorite addition was fresh berries, graham cracker crumbs, and chocolate, if he could get away with it. He usually only got away with it if it came with the granola his mother would sometimes buy. But she didn’t buy any of that.
Next stop was the bakery. The boy’s eyes widened in amazement when he saw an employee restock freshly made cookies. He stopped pushing the basket and ran over to the glass display case. Inside was the biggest, roundest, sparkliest cookie he ever laid eyes on. He wanted that cookie. It was soft and covered with sprinkles. It had to be his. He tugged on his mother’s sleeve.
“Yes, darling?” she said sweetly.
He made the cutest puppy dog face he could muster. “Mommy . . .” he began, “can I — may I — have that cookie?” He pressed his small, flexible finger against the glass. The light of the display case reflected off of the grains of the sugar.
His mother glanced at it briefly. “You don’t need any sweets.” She pushed the shopping cart from the bakery to the deli.
The small boy pouted. He rubbed his hand along the glass as he followed behind her. While she ordered a pound of sliced turkey, he rocked back and forth on his heels. He kept looking back at the bakery with sad brown eyes. He wondered why she would tease him like that. Why would she walk toward the bakery only to ignore all of the wonderful treats? He watched her watch the meat get sliced. He puckered his lips and hugged her from behind. She reached back and petted his soft curls.
“Mommy . . .” He blew hot air into her leg.
He whined. “Mommy!”
“I want that cookie!”
“Not with that attitude.”
He let go of her. “But you said no before!”
The employee handed over the packet of meat. “Anything else today?”
“No, thank you.” His mother smiled and put the packet in the basket.
“Why can’t I have a cookie?”
“Because I said so.”
She shook her head and pushed the basket off.
The boy pouted the rest of the time in the store. In the car, he didn’t sing along to his favorite songs and kept his arms crossed over his chest. The car pulled up to the driveway.
“Daddy’s home,” his mother said, as she parked.
He jumped out of the car, once he was freed from his prison of a seat. He ran up to the open garage and flung the door open. “Daddy!” he shouted. His little feet lightly tapped on the floor as he walked. He sniffed the air. The house smelled sweet.
“I’m in the kitchen, kiddo!” his father called.
The boy ran into the kitchen. “Daddy!”
“There’s m’boy!” He picked up his son and gave him a bear hug. The boy sniffed his father’s clothes.
“You smell like sugar.”
He laughed. “That’s because I made you a treat.” He gestured to the stove. On top was a tray of freshly-baked sugar cookies.
His eyes went wide with excitement. “But Mommy said I can’t have any.”
“That’s because I texted her and told her I was making cookies.”
“And you had a mini fit today, too,” a familiar female voice said.
The boy turned his head and saw his mother with grocery bags. “I’m sorry, Mommy . . .”
“I’ll accept your apology if you help me with these bags.”
The boy nodded and wiggled out of his father’s arms. He took a bag from his mother and put away everything that belonged in a low place. After the groceries were all put away, the three of them sat together and enjoyed the fresh sugar cookies, the way you enjoy what was once lost when it comes back to you.
Taylor is a UC Santa Barbara graduate with a BA in English and is currently seeking her MFA at San Jose State University, with emphasis on screenwriting and fiction. She has been published in Leaf by Leaf Literary Magazine and has worked as a journalist for the Daily Nexus and VocaLady Magazine.
Photo Credit: Staff