Sweet As Sugar

A Haibun, 2 Parts

Musical Selection: Eagles|I Can’t Tell You Why

Photo from ds_30 via Pixabay

She sits across from us — hair pinned up tightly in an aggravated bun. I have my hands on my lap. I am centered in my chair — immovable. She invites us in for tea, this will calm our nerves, she says. We sit quietly. She gathers the good china, readies the table, and prepares some Earl Grey. He spies me looking at her precariously. I give him a cautious wink — I nod slowly. He knows something is wrong. He says nothing.

“Your sugar cubes . . . One lump or two, Dears?” We look at each other before speaking. We both shout in unison, “Two, please!” She plasters a fake smile on her face then offers us a drink we’re scared to consume.

afraid to drink tea
something’s not right with our host
but we can’t be rude


We sip our tea slowly — breathing in and out as we swallow. She eyes us nosily. I sit back in my chair — rock steadily. The air in the room wolfs around us — strangles us into silence. She seems nice. She seems sweet as pie — sweet as honey — sweet as sugar. But she’s not. We know she’s not. We just can’t put our fingers on it. He takes a few more sips then his head lands on the table with a loud thud. “Teddy! Baby, wake up! Wake up!” I look at her, she’s still smiling — the same fake one from earlier. What has she done?

host for evening tea
is a killer in disguise
we both die that night


Originally published in The Weekly Knob via Medium.

Writers: A Challenge

I am posting this here too, just in case any of you are on Medium and not Twitter, you’ll see this challenge/call for submissions should you fancy to tackle it along with us:


Writers: A Challenge

Haibun A Heart

Writers, this is your fifth challenge of the year and for this one, we will dive into form and structure once again and write our way through the haibun. What is this, you may ask?

Haibun is a prosimetric literary form originating in Japan, combining prose and haiku. The range of haibun is broad and frequently includes autobiography, diary, essay, prose poem, short story and travel journal. — Wikipedia

The challenge: I am asking you to “Haibun a Heart” which is to write a prose piece centered around your heart’s desire or passion or pain or love in any form and to also incorporate a haiku too. 


An example:

The night’s wind sunk deep into our bones — drenched us in pain. We waited for the evening to end. Nothing could relieve us of the passion that festered in our hearts. We begged to be rid of it — to move away from it — to grow in another direction, but it was not our time. If we had our way, we’d lose ourselves in the midst of it all — consumed by love’s touch. Drowned once again.

passion was our pain
this night’s gift led us to love
we seal off our hearts


Let’s make this happen, people!


•Request to be added as a writer by emailing me at acorneredgurl@gmail.com with “Please Add Me” as the subject line and please include the link to your Medium profile. Don’t want to be a writer in A Cornered Gurl? Simply comment with your response in this challenge post, or create your own post to your profile or in another publication, however, please use the tags, “Challenge” and “Haibun.”

Since this is a challenge call, all submissions received by 6:00 pm, US ET Thursday, October 29, 2020, will be published by 7:00 pm, US ET Friday, October 30, 2020. Any other submissions received during the week and by 6:00 pm on Sunday, November 01, 2020, will be published by 7:00 pm on Monday, November 2, 2020, US ET. CHALLENGE SUBMISSION BEGINS NOW. 

Show me what you can do with this challenge and “Haibun a Heart,” beautiful people! 

*Finally, this is a read-for-all community. There will be no metered paywall or locked pieces in A Cornered Gurl. If you do not know how to unlock your submissions, please learn how to here. The Weekly Knob gives an excellent breakdown on deselecting the option to curate/distribute for paywall prior to submitting to a publication.

A Cornered Gurl Guidelines


Originally published via A Cornered Gurl on Medium.

Hello, Happiness. Hello, Sadness. Which of You Will I Feel Today?

On: moving through these two emotions as best as I can.

Image for post
Photo by DEVN via Unsplash

I am seated at my kitchen table in my breakfast nook — laptop propped up, my therapist’s voice in the background . . . We are meeting, but virtually. This has become — dare I say it, Our New Normal. I have adjusted my life in such a way that allows me an evening once per month with my therapist so I may stay on track in managing my emotions, dealing with personal breakdowns, and understanding the many changes happening in my life that have affected me more than I thought they would. For now, this plan is proving to be helpful and as soon as I transition to my new position, we will find a better time of day to conduct our sessions.

For those of you unaware, I will switch jobs soon. On November 06, 2020, I will say goodbye to the facility where I work and transfer to another department within our organization for a remote position. This will be good for me — it will keep me out of some intense situations with people who have proven to be more selfish than selfless. Screening for COVID-19 symptoms during what is now “Flu Season” is taxing. It was already a strenuous task hard on my body, but the level of exhaustion has increased in recent weeks.

I am open and honest when I say I would rather be at home during a global pandemic and I am overjoyed about this change, however, happiness is not the only emotion I feel as I count down to my last day.

I am leaving people I love

Although I will still work for the same organization, I will be in a different department — handling mostly different tasks. This moves me from a group of people I love — cherish as a family. My team is outstanding and walking away from them will leave me gutted in a way I had not prepared for.

I can already feel sadness settling in intermittently. It overwhelms me. It stifles me and drains my energy. It keeps me from being my best self at work.

When you learn and grow with an amazing group of people who go above and beyond in doing their jobs and have a mindset of providing remarkable care to patients, this is hard to forget or dismiss.

My team will be one person short until there is a replacement. I think about how that will impact them — how they will have to work doubly hard to keep up with our facility’s pace, and what that might do to them both mentally and physically. Ours is a fast-paced facility servicing a demographic that isn’t always responsive or respectful, so trying times come more often than not.

I can already feel sadness settling in intermittently. It overwhelms me. It stifles me and drains my energy. It keeps me from being my best self at work.

Making this decision to step down and away from my current position was hard because I am not leaving a place I hate . . . I am leaving a place I love — one filled with people who care, are concerned, and want to help others.

It was time I “chose” me first

I decided to do this for me — to put me first, and I will not back down from it. When I look at how what I do warps my emotions, pulls me away from others, and makes me want to retreat more than invite or welcome anyone in (be it virtually or while social-distancing), a work-from-home position could be the peace and safety I need to regain some semblance of my former self.

We are all quarantining or distancing ourselves from those we love — we’re all feeling the brunt of this global pandemic. My question to myself was, “How can you change one thing to make what you do better?” Given what I do, there is no way to change it to make it better. It’s a hands-on job with involvement and physical interaction with people who are seeing us for the care they wish to get. So, I then said to myself, “You can still be in the medical field, but be hands-off.” And therefore, I applied to remote positions within our organization.

I know where my heart is, and it’s in helping others — it always has been there. I feel strongly about this purpose. Moving towards this position to schedule invasive procedures and imaging scans for our patients while still being able to communicate with them (over-the-phone or via our chat/email options) relieves me. I will still do what I love doing.

What day will this be? A happy or sad one?

As I work down the last two weeks of my resignation, I am moving through two emotions rather wildly. My sense of self feels off-kilter and unbalanced. One day, I’m happy to count down to my last day. The next, I am sad. I am moved to tears. The hurt cuts deeply. I know what I am doing. I know why I am leaving. I want to feel as though it validates my reasons for doing so without the added baggage of enhanced emotions.

I am open and honest when I say I would rather be at home during a global pandemic and I am overjoyed about this change, however, happiness is not the only emotion I feel as I count down to my last day.

My therapist to me during our last session: “You will move through those emotions as they come, Tre. What did we discuss during our last session about feeling all of them?”

“Feel them, then move on from them.”

Moving on is the hard part. I feel them just fine. They welcome themselves into my daily routine unannounced, and I have to reassure myself that what I am feeling is sound — it is normal. I have a right to be both happy and sad about choosing to leave my job and the people I love, but why can’t I understand this?

Quietly, I belittle myself for moving from one emotion to the next as the days pass. I have to learn to be kinder — to acknowledge that this is monumental for me and to give myself a little more love. It took me months to crack down on a job hunt and a few more weeks after that, to pursue the jobs for which I had applied. This was a process — a well thought out process. I did not make the decision in haste.

It all boils down to my reluctance to adapt to change — this, I know. I am aware of this. It crushes me to shift a routine, to uproot my habitual status, to move with the wind . . . I am happier planted — a tree should be my spirit object. I made a mental note of this to discuss with my therapist during our next session. Perhaps this is another reason both happiness and sadness have become my bedfellows.

The time is nearing and my team members and some patients who are knowledgeable are telling me how much they will miss me and sending me my roses while I am still alive. I appreciate them. I look forward to them. I am blessed to be a person so loved and accepted. I am happy they are allowing me to smell them before I leave — to embrace their compassion before I say “Goodbye.”

It crushes me to shift a routine, to uproot my habitual status, to move with the wind . . . I am happier planted — a tree should be my spirit object.

And as the days continue to dwindle down to the final one, I will continue to acknowledge what I am feeling and why.

Regardless of when happiness or sadness greets me, I will be ready to stare each down fearlessly.


Originally published on Medium.