Here is the first section of Kavya Sebastian’s short story, “Hot Chocolate and Cronuts,” which was recently selected for publication in The Marble Collection, a magazine of high school writing and artwork from all across Massachusetts.
Hot Chocolate and Cronuts
City Bakery. Friday night. 1:44 AM. Man in a suit.
“Would you like marshmallows with that, sir?”
“Oh please no. That’s the last thing I need right now. Especially right now, I mean that’s not even what I want. And now, I’m rambling. I’m sorry. See, it’s been kind of a long day. Can I have another cup with marshmallows? Ah- I mean, no. No marshmallows. Another cup, no marshmallows. I’ll stop now.”
The waitress nodded and scurried back into the kitchen. Her face was kind, and held a smile, but Tom knew she would take her time coming back. He wouldn’t blame her. But who else was there to blame? He took a quick glance at his hot chocolate. No whipped cream, no marshmallows, no cinnamon. The wisps of steam subsided, leaving the liquid bare. Usually, on days like this when the snow sprinkled down, he took it with swirls of whipped cream, two sticks of cinnamon and a pinch of love in every marshmallow (and he always had a lot of marshmallows). Well, that was how he took it. Then again, that was the price of breaking up with your fiancée.
He looked around for the cute waitress again, only being greeted by an ocean of empty red stools and neatly waxed black linoleum tiles. The lighting cast an unflattering glow on a girl in the corner booth. The chalkboard walls were covered in random facts and newspaper clippings. His eyes turned back to the girl in the corner. Her black hair fell in soft, light waves down the red dress she was wearing. Beside her, a pair of heels kept her company and she swung her bare feet beneath the table. She was dressed for out of town. What was she doing here? Maybe she was like him. Tom laughed to himself. As if someone as beautiful as her could be alone.
The woman looked up, sadness in her eyes, meeting his. His eyes widened and for a moment he was staring. The woman’s legs stopped swinging and she brought her belongings closer to her body. He covered his eyes with his hand and turned back to his mug.
“Your hot chocolate, sir.”
The waitress ran off again, taking her wonderful legs with her. He wondered how old she was. Twenty? Twenty-one, maybe? She couldn’t be more than that. Whatever the answer, he knew she was too young. Maybe if he was a couple years younger, he could be with someone like her. Someone who wasn’t always putting work before him.
He took a sip.
The sweet taste of the hot chocolate melted his thoughts away. Sweet reminded him of anniversary cakes. Sweet reminded him of the apologies that hung in the air. Sweet reminded him of her voice, that he wanted so badly.