Sticky (Pushcart Prize Nominee, SFLR 2018)

by Courtney Rose

The summer began with mangoes, slippery and sticky in our palms as Daddy and me stripped the ones Mama hand-picked from the corner market so she could use them for a pie. The first slap of heat had just hit our house, hitting the old shingle siding. Sitting on the porch, I felt the ache between my legs as a bite from the mango I had just finished peeling squelched against my lips, a line of juice dribbling down my chin onto my dress.

“Don’t you say nothin’ now, sugar,” Daddy said with a stare as he took his hunting knife to the mango in his hand, halving it until the skin split and the hard pit stuck out, covered in stringy fuzz. His eyes never left mine while he ripped the pit out of the other half and palmed it, squeezing the last of its nectar down his taut knuckles, trickling. A brief wind hit my face as Mama joined us on the porch, and I didn’t say a thing.