Taffy Sweetcheeks

So, we can actually call this one Sunday Morning Shorts. In a nutshell, I had the most hectic week workwise and my plan to just chill out on Saturday and write my fiction piece changed when hubby scored passes to Adventure Island. Family Day at the water park turned into wash & deep condition evening (my fellow naturals already know what THAT’s about)…so here I am. Better late, right?

By Jeffrey M. Vinocur (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Jeffrey M. Vinocur (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The sound of my vibrating phone jarred me out of my sleep. Without a second thought, I hit the ignore button and rolled over in the bed.

Ol boy is still on my “no contact” list.

When it rang again a few moments later, I groaned and peeped at the caller id.  Seeing that it was my sister, I picked up before it went to voicemail.

“So, you’re ignoring me now?”  She asked.

“Thought you were someone else.” I said as I attempted to stifle a yawn. “Good morning, Heather.”

“Morning?” she replied. “Baby sister, it’s almost noon.”
“Still morning,” I said.  “What’s up?”

“Well, I’m going to be out your way next week for a conference. Thought we’d hook up the day before it started. Do some shopping and have a spa day. What’s the name of that place we went to the last time I was in town?”


Telling anyone, especially my family, what I did was not in my plan. At least not yet.

A stream of curses raced through my mind. I could feel the knot begin to form in my stomach. I was supposed to have more time to get my story and myself together.

“I can get the name for you, but I won’t be there,” I said slowly.

“Why? Did you and Russ plan a getaway?”

“I got away alright, but not with him.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” she asked. I envisioned the creases in her forehead, her mind going a mile a minute as she tried to figure out what I was telling her.

Russell and I are done. I moved out a few days ago.”

“Aww, Melly,” she replied. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah. The writing was on the wall for a long time. Bold-faced, italicized, and double underlined.”

“So, where did you move to?”

Damn my attorney sister. She just had to ask more questions.

“Outside of Chicago,”

“So, like back to Evanston?”

“More east,”

“Mel, I don’t have time for guessing games and I’d rather not interrogate you. So, just tell me where you are.”

I took a deep breath before responding.  There was no point in being evasive. May as well get it all out in the open. As I exhaled, I said quickly and quietly, “Philly.”

The line went silent. I held my breath for my sister’s response.

“Phila-effin-delphia?” she shrieked, causing me to hold the phone away from my ear.  “Are you serious? You can’t be.”

I didn’t respond right away, I just let her ramble. “Pennsylvania, Melanie? Seriously?”

I put the phone back to my ear and said, “Heather, I know what you’re thinking,”

Mom and Dad are both going to have aneurysms, you know that, right?” she interjected. “Who freaking packs up and moves across the country on a whim? On an emotional whim? You could’ve just come back home if things weren’t working out with Russell.”

“They won’t have aneurysms if you keep your mouth shut until I figure a few things out. And I’m insulted that you would think I moved here because of him.”

“Well, would you have moved if you two hadn’t broken up?”

When I didn’t answer right away, she said, “The prosecution rests.”

“Fine, maybe I would still be there if things were good. But, they weren’t good and I was miserable. I finally decided I was going to do what made me happy.”

“By moving out East?”

“I’ve always wanted to come out here, Heather, you know that. I compromised myself by staying there for as long as I did and by taking the job I had. Do you know how much opportunity I have here?”

“You have those same opportunities here at home. Or in Chicago.”
“Not the same,”

“You’re by yourself in a new city. With no job and no way to get around. Do you even have a place to stay?”

“I’m working on it,” I replied, shrugging my shoulders.

Heather groaned. “I just don’t think you thought this one all the way through. I mean, you’ve always been impulsive, but good God, Philly?”

Silence fell between us again. I stared at my hands as I awaited which parental trait she would take on. I would either receive the lecture that our father would give or another string of probing questions like our mother that would put the FBI to shame.

“You’ve always been the wild card in the family,” she said finally, her voice surprisingly calm. “I don’t know why we’d expect you to be sensible now.”

“So, you’re okay?”

“Of course not,” she exclaimed. “But, I know you won’t be fulfilled until you’ve tried to live out your dream. “

I let out a long breath as the heaviness left my body. “Thank you,” I said quietly.

“Please be careful, find a place in a safe neighborhood. And when you get any contracts, fax them to me and I’ll look them over.”

“Okay,” I smiled.

“I know you’re there dream chasing, but you still have to pay your bills, so find a job fast, okay? Preferably one that doesn’t involve a pole.”

“Damn, just when I had decided on Taffy Sweetcheeks as a nickname.”

“Whatever,” she laughed. “If anybody can make this work, it’s you,”

“I appreciate you having my back.”


For the third time, we both fell silent. I felt tears sting at my eyes. It wasn’t as if I was seeking her blessing, since I was past the point where one would be needed. But knowing I had it helped me stand taller in another decision to reclaim my life. This move had to work.  Much like my dead relationship with Russell, failing was unacceptable.

We continued to talk about my plans as I finally got out of bed and prepared to start my first day on the grind.  Heather was right; I needed a job, like right now. Though I’d given myself a year to grind, my bank account gave me significantly less time. After a few minutes, she said, “I’ve gotta go, sis, but I need to tell you one more thing.”

“What’s that?”

“Russell. He was holding you back. I’m glad you moved out.”

 © 2013 — Dahlia Savage



  1. I’m loving this! Is this going to be a part of something longer eventually?? Mel is a great character and I like her sister, too. I’d be interested in seeing what happens to them. Good luck with this! (And I know all about those wash and deep condition evenings. Chile…)


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