Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Devil Has a Sweet Tooth

The Devil Has a Sweet Tooth

My Aunt Celia stayed with me every third Saturday evening of the month while my parents went out to dinner with friends. I was slightly afraid of Celia, who was a stern schoolteacher without a sense of humor. She was, however, an excellent storyteller. I looked forward to seeing her just to hear her latest tale. Of course, I never believed anything she told me; though something changed the night she began her story with the line…

“The Devil has a sweet tooth.” She settled into the squeaky rocking chair beside my bed.

“What? How do you know that, Auntie?” 

“I know because I met him once.” 

“You met Satan?” I asked, mocking her.

“Yes, I did. It was summer. I was a little bit older than you are. For your information, he doesn’t have horns and a pointy tail. As I recall, he was very good looking, tan, clean-shaven, hazel eyes, and long gray hair. He was wearing jeans, a white shirt, and a cowboy hat.”

“How did you know he didn’t have horns then? I asked.

“Don’t sass me!” Celia said, the strict teacher suddenly appeared. “Anyway, my Daddy was sick and I needed to get medicine for him. I decided to take the shortcut through McGee’s Crossroads to get to the store. People in our town generally avoided that route because it was rumored that the devil watched the crossroads. Apparently, folks in need would go there swap their souls for something they wanted. Well, I had no intention of giving up my soul. I remembered Daddy told me that the devil had a sweet tooth and that I should always carry candy in my pocket. If I happened to meet Old Scratch, I would be able to give him something. I do believe that Daddy didn’t want me to be tempted into asking for anything.”

I knew it would be useless to interrupt, so I let her continue.

“I got to the crossroads and there he was, leaning on the sign post. He asked me where I was going on such a hot summer day. I told him that I needed to get to the store to quickly to pick up some medicine for my father. He thought that was a noble purpose.”

Celia went on. “I said, look, I don’t want any trouble and I am not asking you for anything. As a matter of fact, I have something for you. That old boy slapped his thigh and laughed when I pulled out some Tootsie Rolls and a Sky Bar and placed them in his hand. He looked at me quite intently, then took off his hat, bowed, and waved his arm to let me to pass.”

Aunt Celia had me hooked. I had to ask.

“He just let you go, that was the end of it?”

“Why no, dear, and now I am getting to the best part of the story. The old boy said that I was the first person who hadn’t asked him for anything, but had given him a gift of candy, something he liked very much. In return, he wanted to give me something, a little bit of insight.”
“What did he give you, Aunt Celia?” I was excited now.

“He told me that as an expert at dealing with humans, he could always see what they were made of by looking straight into their eyes. All you need to know about anyone, at any time, will be right there in front of you.”

She smiled at me. “Sweet girl, this is important. I am giving you this gift now. I hope you will remember what I’ve told you tonight. You will always be able to tell a person’s character by what you see when you look into their eyes.”

That night, I looked into my aunt’s green eyes and found that I could see right down into her soul. For the first time, I saw the kind, loving woman who truly cared for me. 

She stayed with me until I fell asleep and had already left by the time I awoke the next morning. From that time on, I no longer feared my aunt. We began spending more time together. She became my second mother, my counselor, and my friend.

Aunt Celia died three years ago. Though I miss her every day, she left me with a wealth of knowledge that influences the way I live my life.

I look directly into the eyes of anyone I meet. You would be surprised at the things I can tell. 

Oh yes, and I always make sure to have a bit of candy in my purse, just in case.

Nina Roselle:
Nina works full-time as a paralegal, part-time as a fledgling writer and has found her happily-ever-after in a little town in North Carolina.