Authors: Emme Burton
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Disclaimer: This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to any person, living or dead, any place, events or occurrences, is purely coincidental. The characters and story lines are created from the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
The following products/entities along with others mentioned in Snack are trademarked: iPhone, Jamoca Almond Fudge, Star Wars, L’Oreal, Stay-Puft, Legoland, Rainforest Café, and Spaghettios.
Editors: Lauren Schmelz and Janine Weathers, Write Divas Editing
Cover Design: © Sarah Hansen, Okay Creations.
Author Photograph: Dana Colcleasure
Formatting: Polgarus Studio
To my very own Wookiee, Jasper. Love you so much, boy.
“Thinking of You” Katy Perry
“Better Man” Pearl Jam
“Here Comes Your Man” Pixies
“I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself” The White Stripes
“Linger” The Cranberries
“Ice Cream” Sarah McLachlan
“The Imperial March” (Darth Vader’s Theme)
Star Wars Soundtrack
“Are You Gonna Be My Girl” Jet
EP version) Ed Sheeran
“Feel Good Inc.” Gorillaz
“Sugar, We’re Going Down” Fall Out Boy
“We Belong Together” Mariah Carey
“Thinking Out Loud” Ed Sheeran
“The One That Got Away” The Civil Wars
“Fall for You” Secondhand Serenade
“Not A Bad Thing” Justin Timberlake
“I Won’t Tell A Soul” Charlie Puth
“The One That Got Away” Katy Perry
“When I Was Your Man” Bruno Mars
“Love You Madly” Cake
“Photograph” Ed Sheeran
“Some Type of Love” Charlie Puth
I enjoy the middle part of stories more than the rest. If asked, I would tell anyone my favorite installments of (NERD ALERT!)
Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
Episode III Revenge of the Sith
. In fiction and movies, I like the unfolding, the figuring out, the discovery. I tolerate beginnings because, well, every story needs exposition and backstory. I’m less a fan of the end. Because is it really ever the end? I waver between craving the resolution and wanting to know what’s next—because even at the end there is always something next.
By contrast, in my everyday life, I yearn for the answer, the resolution. I can’t stand things left undone. Oh, I can procrastinate with the best of them but I like my conflicts resolved. Maybe it has something to do with the way I grew up, but I wish for the proverbial happy (or, at least, content) ending.
That being said, I’m also a huge hypocrite. I don’t have resolution. I have the illusion of resolution. I’m learning to live in the
of life, appreciating the beginning and not knowing the end. Endings seem painful, even when happy. I tend to ruminate about endings—obsess, if you will. I wonder about how it could’ve been better. I think about how it could’ve been worse. I think about what would’ve happened if Anakin had shared some of his darkest demons with someone other than Emperor Palpatine. I ponder if any of my beloved antiheroes and tragic romantic characters (think Eponine from
) could’ve had a happy ending. They certainly are the most interesting characters in books, movies, and plays. Full of repressed emotion and angst. So dramatic. If they are my example, then interesting life or love equals uncertain, sad, and tragic.
In real life: I hate these people. I’m not interested in the drama queens with their broken engagements and tales of unrequited love and bitterness. It seems unearned and fake.
When it happened to me, I discovered it was not a very attractive real-life option.
If I didn’t already think I was a fucking weirdo, this confirms it. Who the hell else fantasizes about Darth Vader to get off during sex?
It’s really effective ninety percent of the time. If I think about Darth Vader (or sometimes, to change it up, Severus Snape) I can climb Orgasm Mountain like a Sherpa. Not this morning. Right now, Henry is between my legs working me over, and I can’t get out of base camp. I know what I have to do. I don’t want to have to do it, but Henry could get a tongue sprain if I don’t soon. I let the picture of
enter my mind.
The crack of a starter pistol fires in my mind, and I sprint to the summit of Mount O.
Ooooooooh, my God! Yes!
A delicious swirling clenching overtakes me as I imagine Snack, not Henry, making me feel this way. I may need a hit of oxygen after I reach the summit. Fastest ascent ever. My body is warm and tingly and well.
Henry looks up from downtown. He looks pleased with himself. Almost smug.
Me? I feel a little guilty. Like a traitor to myself. And Henry. Really, he made a spectacular effort to get me off and the whole time I was thinking about another guy.
Dammit! Snack is my past.
I really don’t know if Henry is my future.
Reflexively, I smile down at him. Henry pushes himself up a bit, rests his head on my stomach, and sighs. I run my fingers through his perfectly-coiffed-even-though-it’s-morning product-laden dark brown hair.
Physically, sex with Henry isn’t bad. It isn’t earth shattering either, and lately we’ve just been getting each other off without actually fucking. Just lots of blowies and tongue-lashings of the little man in the canoe.
“How was that? I’m gonna guess it was pretty spectacular because it sounded like you really enjoyed it.”
God, he’s arrogant sometimes.
“It was awesome, Henry.” I’m not lying. It was awesome. His tongue did a great job. Unfortunately, it ultimately wasn’t what pushed me over the edge.
Henry, my roommate/activity, buddy/sex partner, falls asleep immediately, snoring through his stupid fucking hipster mustache. I mean, it feels pretty damn good when he’s giving me a
, but in everyday life the ’stache is just so cliché. Guess what, guys? Not everyone looks good with facial hair. Some of you just look like homeless lumberjacks.
From my description of our relationship, it should be pretty obvious Henry and I haven’t DTRed: Defined The Relationship, yet. We met eight months ago and started hanging out. The sex was easy and uncomplicated and somehow he wound up moving in. Like, his shit kept accumulating here and then he said, “It doesn’t make sense to pay rent on two apartments.”
And I said, “Well, you might as well move in.” It was more like a business deal, but it’s better than being alone, I suppose.
We don’t even come close to talking about our relationship—ever. I think we’re both keeping it loose for reasons from our past. I know I am. Let’s just say, I don’t have too many positive experiences with love or trust.
I love four people in this world, but I only really trust about 2.75 of them. The 0.75 is my older brother. It’s really a stretch to trust him at times. Snack is in there in the love part. Henry doesn’t even figure into the equation. I keep trying to make him fit and push Snack out. I never was any fucking good at algebra.
My phone rings, essentially saving me from thinking about my strange ritual for achieving orgasm and distracting me from my guilt. I mean, it’s not overwhelming guilt, but sometimes I feel like maybe I’m not putting in enough effort. Henry’s nice enough, gainfully employed, good-looking. So maybe he’s a bit commitment averse, but he’s fine with pleasuring me for as long as it takes. Even if I am thinking about someone else. That’s OK, I’m positive I’ll revisit it later. The guilt. Maybe the odd orgasm thingy, too.
My phone rings again. I can tell by the “Luke, I am your Father” ringtone that it’s my dad.
After pushing my comatose roomie from between my legs and onto his side of the bed, I grab my iPhone from my nightstand and swipe the screen.
“Hi,” I say breathlessly.
“Minnie Mouse, it’s Dad.” He says this
time he calls me, even though I know it’s him and he knows I know it’s him.
“You sound like you’ve been running. You OK?”
I could honestly say,
Actually, mountain climbing,
but I don’t. Instead I reassure him. “I’m fine.”
“Minnie, you need to come home.” Dad’s tone is low and commanding, which is unusual for him. Generally our conversations are light. He’s never really been effective at demanding anything from my siblings or me.
My brothers’ well-being immediately springs to mind. “Why? Is everything OK? Are the boys OK?” As the only girl in the family, I’ve always felt maternal toward my brothers, even though I’d never admit it.
Dad sighs heavily. “It’s Snack.”
When Dad called I knew what I had to do—Wookiee and I caught a train from the city right after work. I went back to the apartment and threw a few things in an overnight bag, stuffed Wook into my purse, and hauled ass to Union Station to make the 5:04 train to Downers Grove. I waited until I was aboard to call Henry.
“Hey, just wanted to let you know I’m going home to visit my dad and a family friend who’s having a crisis.”
“You don’t want me to
with you, do you?”
I shake my head. What? What kind of half-assed offer of support is that? He’s never met my dad or my brothers or even shown any interest. I don’t think this trip is the time.
“No, I don’t think so,” I reply flatly.
“OK.” Henry’s voice over the phone becomes distant and starts breaking up, “So, I’ll see ya.” The call drops when we go through a tunnel.
That’s it? Not even, “I’ll see ya
.” What’s worse, it doesn’t even piss me off. Henry may not know it yet but I think our relationship has just been defined. I hate to admit it , but I’m pretty sure we’re just fuck buddies. Fuck buddies that share an address.
This is pretty much my favorite place in the world.
The entire world.
The northeast corner of Main and Burlington in Downers Grove, Illinois in the courtyard of the train station.
One word. You’ve probably already guessed it.
Childhood best friend, love of my life, loss of my life, biggest regret, one that got away. Snack.
I’ve been in love with Marcus Snackenberg since before I knew what love was.
I look in my large purse, lock eyes with Wookiee my Yorkie, and tell him, “We’re here, Wook. This is it. Time to make the jump to hyperspace.” There is no other way of describing being back home. Wookiee, appropriate to his name, gives me a throaty growl. Yes, his name is Wookiee. What else would a
obsessed nerd girl like me name a miniature, seven-pound version of Chewbacca?
We moved to Downers Grove when I was six. It wasn’t exactly a happy or well-planned move. My father was thankfully and magically, I believe, good friends with the Snackenberg family. And I, by lucky default, got a friend.
No one ever calls him Marcus. Not even his parents. He truly is a snack. A visual cupcake of a child that grew into a decedent layer cake of a man. And nobody, not one person in our town could resist gobbling him up when he was around. Not when he was a kid, and from the last few Christmas card pictures I’ve seen, probably not now, either. As a kid, grownups would pinch his cheeks and stroke his hair and, like unknowing prophets, tell him what a lady-killer he was going to grow up to be. As we got older, girls, hell, even soccer moms, practically stood on their fucking heads and did the splits to get just a tiny bit of notice from him.
So, here I am, standing at my favorite place in the world. Glued to the spot after getting off the train and staring at the familiar café cattycorner from my position. I’m having difficulty getting myself to move.
Paralyzed and gawking at the sign above the door that reads
, I hope against hope to catch a glimpse of the man that has always shared that name. And has always owned my heart.
For the past fourteen years, every time I’ve come home on the train from downtown. I do it. Winter. Spring. Summer. Fall. I just stand here for a few moments across from the shop. Imagine him there. Dream for a few seconds about sitting inside with him like we used to. Sometimes a tear will sneak out of one of my eyes. God, that pisses me off more than anything!