Sweet Shame

By Sophia Pierroutsakos

In the palm of my hand I held the small, translucent packaging, printed with tiny strawberries and filled with a sparkly pink goo, sweet and delicious looking to my 7-year-old eyes, so I rushed home to ask my dad for 5 drachmas, then walked back along the dusty road to the beach town convenience store in the brutal afternoon sun of an August in Greece, eager to taste the confection, silver coin in my grip, my anticipation growing as I paid for my treat, tearing it open to release the syrup into my mouth: the sudden, bitter soapy taste on my tongue less painful than the sharp sting of my father’s anger and disappointment–how could I make such a stupid and dangerous mistake, missing the small print in Greek, "shampoo"?–my tan cheeks flushed with shame, relief only to be found by running into the cool, blue waters of the Mediterranean I now desperately long to reach, my father forever silent.



Sophia Pierroutsakos is a developmental psychologist currently trapped in the Midwest, teaching college courses from home, battling for bandwidth with her family of 8.


Art by Jay Baker, an artist from Colorado, living in Oregon by way of New Mexico; He records music as Tom Foe.

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