This is a missing scene from Finding Sunshine, and takes place after Aaron and Nina are married, but before they move to Pinetree, Vermont. Note: this is un-edited, so please be gentle!
In the Raw
~ Nina ~
“Nina, put these in your purse,” Aaron whispers in my ear from behind, attempting to thrust something into my hand.
“What?” I turn slightly to look up at him, from where I’m standing in front of the condiments bar at Starbucks.
“They have the raw sugar packets here.” He reaches out and takes several more from the container in front of us.
“You don't put sugar in your coffee,” I remind him, turning back to stir my coffee and roll my eyes at my husband’s weird obsession with collecting condiments. We have a Tupperware container full of them in the glove box of our truck: ketchup, mustard, honey, salt & pepper, sugar, sweet-and-low (which neither of us ever uses), coffee creamer, mayonnaise, relish and even a few BBQ sauce ones – you name it, we have it. Honestly some of them are so old, I’m not entirely sure they’re even safe to use.
“You do,” His tone mildly impatient, as if I’m the one with the problem.
“I’ve already put enough in.”
“For later,” he explains, straightening the ones in his hand into a neat stack. “Just incase you really should keep some in your purse.”
“I think you have a big enough collection of condiments for the both of us,” I tell him, tossing the wooden stirrer into the trash. “Why do you collect them?”
“Why do you horde condiment packets?” I ask, looking up at my husband’s adorably confused face.
“I don't horde them,” he says defensively.
“Collect then,” I say rolling my eyes. “Why do you collect them?”
This is not something new I’m asking him. Ever since I discovered his weird habit of hording condiment packets, I’ve wondered why. His answers are always annoyingly vague.
“You never know when you're going to need them?” He states matter-of-factly.
Turning to face him fully, I ask the obvious question. “When have you ever needed them and you didn't have any?”
There’s a pregnant pause and I watch as a million different thoughts flash across Aaron’s face before he answers, almost to himself. “In prison.”
“What?” I whisper, reaching out to rest my hand on his forearm.
“They never seemed to give you enough on your tray,” he murmurs, shaking his head in annoyance.
My husband’s short time in prison is not something he’s proud of and any reminder of those two years puts him into a dark mood; where nothing I can say or do will bring him out of it.
“Fuck,” my husband growls in annoyance, kicking one of his boot toed feet against the floor.
“Here,” I say taking the neat little stack from his hand and opening the large purse hanging off my shoulder. “I’ve got an inside pocket I can keep them in.”
“You don’t have to,” he bites out tersely, reaching out to take the packets back.
“You’re right,” I tell him. “I prefer this kind, than the regular sugar. I should keep some handy.”
“You don’t have to humor me.” Aaron says, taking the sugar packets out of my hand.
“I’m not. I’m agreeing with you,” I tell him fervently, taking the packets back, shoving them into the pocket and zipping it closed. Then standing on tiptoes I kiss his soft bearded cheek saying with a small laugh, “Take advantage of it while it lasts.”
Wrapping his arm around my waist Aaron pulls me into his chest, kissing my temple he murmurs with a hint of mirthless laughter, “Fuck, I love you Sunshine.”
Text Copyright © 2017 Rene Webb, All Rights Reserved