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bittersweet candy

Updated: Mar 12, 2023

unwrap the round confectionary

and there it sits in my palm

shiny with sparkles of sugar

and quickly my tongue meets

the sour surface of the candy.

there are hints of raspberry

and maybe some lemon.

i just remembered that i’ve been waiting.

waiting for somebody to tell me that all i’ve lost

is also more that i can gain with new faces and visages

but how come it stings like a bite to the cheek?

mom is traveling next month for her green card

and then heading to korea to visit her mother

and classmates are visiting places i’d rather be in

so i’ve deleted social media.

i’m becoming too envious for my own good.

the back of my throat burns

this sweet is oddly deceiving and surreptitiously

disguised a flavor of fire i can’t describe.

it. burns.

the wrapper still sits in the sweaty palm of my hand

its plasticy nature uncomfortable to touch.

i need to throw it away.

these days i rarely go out

to the benefit of my parents.

they don’t tell me to stay home

but when i go out they wonder if i’m

focusing enough. am i on track? and sometimes,

even i don’t know the answer to that. i’m losing

connection, and with what, you ask? with everything.

familiar faces are a blur in my memory

i’m tired of the endless fear of the virus

my bed is telling me to leave the house just for some

fresh air.

the candy is still in my mouth

slowly melting

and i’m swallowing the flavor

and maybe i’m fooling myself, but now

it tastes a little sweeter, and less sour.

i glance outside, see the trees wave their branches

at me. life isn’t so bitter after all.


Editors: Sandhya G, Zoe L., Sam. L


Author’s note: A couple of weeks ago, I was on Instagram (which I now have deleted–we have an on and off relationship) where I noticed many students from my school traveling. Amongst this Covid-19 pandemic, they are traveling while I’m “stuck” in Singapore under the wrath of the strict government restrictions. And at the same time, the stress of college applications is dawning on me, and I couldn’t help but wonder if those classmates were feeling the same way as me as they adventured their way through my home city. By now, however, I’ve long ago realized that wasting time envying others’ lives is meaningless–I should appreciate the privilege and beauty of the surroundings around me.

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