The Toxic Snack

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: October 27, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 27, 2017



My whole body feels as if it's been set on fire. Every nerve inflamed, every muscle cramped and pulsing, every breath hurting worse than the last. In the very corner of my eye the faintest view of toes flicking faster than mine. I try to move faster but it is everything I can do to just keep pulling. As each second passes my urge to stop and hang onto the lane line for dear life increases. The flags zoom by and for a moment I feel no pain. The world seems to slow as my body slams into the cement. I gasp as air once again fills my lungs. I grip the wall as if letting go would mean falling off into oblivion.

Nobody finishes after me. I am the last person to reach the wall.  Nobody cheers or even applauds, not even my grandparents who normally can’t be quiet. I slowly turn my head and glance at my mom. Her head in her hands shaking back and forth. What? What could be so bad that it causes her, the most positive person I know, to be shaking her head seemingly almost in tears. I rip off my blackening tinted goggles and the bright Roseville sun glares in.Momentarily in a daze I continue turning to view the large scoreboard. My anxiety and fear continue to bubble as my friends behind my lane stay quiet. I turn just enough to see only my time in the glare of the big TV screen.


And right next to it


I let out a small gasp.It feels as if my heart is going to jump right out of my chest.

This can’t be right! After my every nerve being on fire, after my lungs being deprived of air, and most of all after I had to work so hard to get here.  I use all my muscle I have left to drag myself out of the water and upon the broiling hot swim deck. This California heat drapes over everything like blanket. Even after you find shade the dark hope is the exact same blistering heat. I couldn’t move even if I tried. The warmth hits me like a wave and suddenly I find it in myself to get up. Every muscle in my legs shaking I manage to stand and walk only a few paces before it becomes to much and I fall into a very conveniently placed chair.

Looking through the mess of swimmers,bags, and worried or aggravated parents I find Caroline. I met her only yesterday but her enthusiasm is uplifting.Mustering up enough will to raise my hand and wave it slightly. She comes, prancing like a bunny who has not yet seen the horrors of life.

In her whistle tone high pitched voice she squeaks out, “ Are you OK? What happened? Should I find a coach? A Parent? Do you need water? Or pasta? I love pasta but not as much as I love salad. Do you want a salad?”

I stare, bewildered by her astonishing rapper fast talking.Gawking then tears spring to my eyes as I choke out, “ My time was four one hundredths slower than Makenna. This means I’m off the relay!” The words barely manage to squeak out. It seems as if after each word I become more emotional.

“I am so sorry! Do you know what makes me happy when I’m sad? I like to dance. Do you want to dance we should totally dance!” She squeaks out as she somehow pulls me upon my feet.  My legs and body still shaking and gasping from all the emotion. This was my chance to show these zone coaches what I’m made of. I take a deep breathe, muster out a few pathetic dance moves and begin to giggle my tears away…

I sigh and rest  back my head on the pillow. These memories rush back and seem to slap me in the face. It feels like it’s happening over and over again. As if someone has pushed the replay button on that one memory. It pains me just to think about. My chance to show those coaches what I’m made of. To show them it was not a mistake taking me to this meet, and of course I blew it. Tears sit on the edge of my eyelids begging to be spilled upon everything.

The small click of hotel door startles me. I try desperately to brush away my tears. My teammates have already seen me fall apart. I want them to think that I’m put together. That I’m alright. Although if you look inside you would see shattered glass, waiting to be pieced together again. Caroline hops in with her usual spring in her step. I perk up just slightly. Her happiness could shine like the sun through a crowd. She plops down right next me, as if I wasn’t even there.

The bed shifts subtly. She looks at me funny as she bites into a odd shaped granola bar.

“Does that have pecans?” I inquire as I shy away from it. Pecans, I hate them. Whenever I’m near them I’ll have a awful allergic reaction.

“I hope not! I’m highly allergic. I could really go for a Starbucks about now,” she chirped asshe offers me a bite of the appetizing chocolaty goodness.

I take a bite. Slow. Then I explode.

For once I was the one who had tons to say.“You know we can’t leave hotel property. That's the one strict rule we can't break! If we do than we can get thrown out of the meet and suspended from swimming!”


She looks over and gives this smirky mischievous grin. Her grin reminds me of one a villain would make right before carrying out a plan. Starbucks does sound delicious. No. No. I can’t leave hotel property. That is not the kind of person I am. No minors. No detentions. I can’t break a rule when I’m on the statewide competitive swim team.

“Live a little! You're always sitting in bed reading. “Come on! It’s a like two minute walk and we have three hours before finals start. Don’t tell me Starbucks doesn’t sound so good right now!” Her eyes sparkled whenever she had a frolicsome plan.

Well maybe, we do have three hours…  I’m gonna do it… “Ok fine.”

Time seemed to be on fast track. Before I could even apprehend what was happening we were outside the hotel. I stop suddenly. What if we get caught? What if something really awful happens? Am I really doing this? Before I could second guess anymore, Caroline rushes back and pulls me into the street. We make it across with no cuts, broken bones, or deaths. This isexhilarating; we can do this. We were only one street away.Then the realization hits me, we’re in our Colorado swimming t-shirts. This was really bad in these fluorescent shirts we could be spotted from a mile away. I shook the thought out of my head. We were only one block away we can do this. Finally after what seemed like eternity but also happened so fast we were inside. Caroline bursts through the doors. I once again stop and watch the doors close. I can only think that we are to far to turn back. Taking a deep breathe I subsequently walk through the door.


The smell of coffee hits me like a brick wall, I welcome it. Caroline was already in line, pulling out her money, counting bill for bill prancing up and down. As if she needs more caffeine. My mind begins to eat me alive as I go and join her. My angel yelling at my devil from my other shoulder. “She’s a delinquent now, why do I think this is all your fault.”  “This is not all my fault just because I'm supposed to be the antagonist but that doesn't mean I cause everything…”

Shut up!” I yell out loud. Caroline turns to me. She gives me a funny look and turns back. Were next in line.Hot chocolate. Oh, boy do I love chocolate. There it is the person in front moves out of the way. The barista stares directly at me. Oh, my, god. His hair jet black greased to his head. His green apron making him look like a man in uniform. I like a man in uniform. The eyes, as blue as the ocean. His hands a dark coco brown. My heart swells and my mind races. What if I come out sounding dorky? Or Scared? What ff he’s the love of my life? I stare like a lovestruck puppy. Caroline pulls me along as if nothing has happened. Clearly, she does not seem fazed by his inequivalent charm.

“Hi, I’ll have a venti americano with seven shots espresso six shots of dairy free cream and those weird coconut shavings,” She chirps. My beautiful sight who according to his name tag his name is Brad. I sigh. His name is just as cute as he is.

Caroline gives me a slight nudge.

I choke out “ Um... a hot chocolate. In that um big cup you have.” I have to stop myself from slapping me in the head. A hot chocolate. Seriously. I sound like a doofus.

“That will be all please, unless I should try one of those divine looking scones, or a muffin, or maybe a piece of cake.” Caroline chirps sounding more profound than ever,

Before I could let her embarrassed me any more than she already had in front of my beautiful honey I clamped my hand over her mouth.

“Mhmm Mhm” She snorts as she looked over disapproving.

“That will be all.” I quietly smirk while dying on the inside.

“Your hand does not taste like chlorine which is really odd because we’ve been in the pool for like two days straight and all but like real..”

“Dude, no offense but do you ever shut up?” I ask impatiently as I look over at Brad. *Sigh* My heart flourishes to life.

“Lauryn, Lauryn, Lauryn!” Caroline has to shout to awaken me out of my daze. I hadn’t been realizing but he was holding my drink. As I reach out to grab my bliss chocolate goodness I  brush over his chocolate soft skin.

“See! You have to appreciate the amazing things in life like hell hot boys and great dairy free creamed coffee, although, coffee is really delicious with dairy cream it makes me sick as well as pecans and almonds and sometimes walnuts,I hate the taste of walnuts.”

I plop into the sofa chair and examine the contents of my drink. Appreciating the small things. Like hell hot boys and great coffee. Well she wasn't wrong. Brad *Sigh* is hell hot. I glance over at Caroline who is starring at me like Brad and I’s relationship is the best new sitcom.

“The little things are the ones that matter, matter,matter, matter.” She stutters on.

Time halts to a stand still. I contemplate in absolute horror as her eyes roll back into her head and she slumps over out of the chair. The coffee falls to the ground in slow motion. As it hits it explodes sending splatters everywhere. I watch as her whole body goes limp as I try to stand and suddenly feel dizzy. I glimpse a peek at Brad who has seen the commotion and to seems to be moving in slow motion. My knees buckle as the world comes back into real speed. I slam hard into the ground and feel the shock reverberate throughout my whole body.

A moment not to long ago flashes into my vision.

Caroline hops in with her usual spring in her step. I perk up just slightly. Her happiness could shine like the sun through a crowd. She plops down right next me, as if I wasn’t even there.

The bed shifts subtly. She looks at me funny as she bites into a odd shaped granola bar.

“Does that have pecans?” I inquire as I shy away from it. Pecans, I hate them. Whenever I’m near them I have a awful allergic reaction.

“I hope not! I’m highly allergic. I could really go for a starbucks about now” She chirps as she offers me a bite of the appetizing chocolate  goodness.

I take a bite. Slow. Than I explode...

After this utter total darkness…


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