California Heat

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
This work tells the story of Amy, a 17 year old girl who has been the victim of a certain event that has completely altered her life.

Submitted: June 06, 2013

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Submitted: June 06, 2013

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The air above the asphalt shimmered in the scorching California heat. Amy swept her thick, frizzy, mass of chestnut curls into a ponytail, trying to let the air cool the thin sheen of sweat that had appeared on her neck during the short walk from her car to the Starbucks entrance.

An elderly couple reached the door at the same moment as Amy, and she quickly stepped ahead to hold the door open for them, her sweaty palms slipping on the cool metal.

“Thank you, my dear,” the elderly gentleman replied, his watery blue eyes crinkling deeply at the corners as he smiled warmly at her.

“No problem,” she replied, returning his smile with a warm one of her own.

She couldn’t help but notice the way the man’s hand slipped so easily into his wife’s with a squeeze of affection as they settled in at the back of the line at the coffee shop. Even though their hands had become gnarled with age and deeply wrinkled with time, they still knew how to fit together perfectly as one.  Will I ever be able to love like that? Amy wondered wistfully with a dull, familiar pang in her chest.

She sighed and followed the couple through the door, shivering involuntarily as she collided with a blast of icy cold air-conditioning. She took her place at the back of the line, and pulled out a handful of crumpled bills from her back pocket. She noticed that her purple nail polish was chipping. Her brow furrowed first in disappointment, then concentration as she began peeling away the sad remains of the polish on her thumbnail.

“Miss? Miss?” a deep voice pulled her from her thoughts.

Amy’s head shot up and she found herself at the front of the line, face to face with an unfamiliar pair of striking blue eyes. She quickly looked down, a slow and steady blush creeping up her neck and spreading across her freckled cheeks.

“It’s your turn to order…?” he told her slowly with a coy smile playing about his lips, hands poised above the till in anticipation for her order.

“Oh, um, yes, sorry,” Amy stammered, glancing up at the sign above the cashier’s head franticly, though the words were merely a blur.

She could feel his eyes looking her up and down appreciatively, and she cringed, wishing desperately she had just driven straight home instead of trying to escape the heat by stopping for a drink.

“Uh, a tall latte please?” she blurted, naming the first drink that came to her head.

“Coming right up,” he replied smoothly, flashing perfectly straight, white, teeth at her.

She winced and fiddled with the edges of the wrinkled bills in her hands, looking everywhere but at the broad, strong shoulders of the cashier as he whipped up her drink. They were too familiar.  She could feel the familiar sense of panic and helplessness rising within her.

“Here you go,” the boy’s confident voice interrupted her thoughts as he placed the cup on the counter in front of her, “That’ll be $3.10.”

Amy quickly thrust the bills into his outstretched hand, their fingers brushing at the exchange.

“Keep the change,” she said quietly, as she picked up her cup and turned to go.

“I guess I’ll see you around, then,” he said boldly with a wink, staring at her a bit too long before turning to greet the next customer.

Amy clutched her steaming drink to her chest, suddenly feeling exposed and vulnerable. Her finger burned from where it had brushed against his.

She shouldered past the customers in the growing line, bumping into a middle aged man.

“Hey, watch it!” he sputtered angrily, shooting her a look of disgust.

“Sorry,” Amy mumbled, as she made her way to the door.

“Amy! Amy over here!” a female voice cried out gaily, rising triumphantly above the deafening noises of whirring espresso machines and lively conversations.

Amy paused in her steps for just a moment.  It sounded like Chelsea. No, she couldn’t do it. She couldn’t simply turn around with her usual smile plastered on her face and pretend things were fine. They were far from fine. Amy wasn’t sure things would be fine ever again. She continued walking, pretending she had never heard her friend’s voice. It was easier this way.

She stepped outside into the boiling heat, and shivered. Her flip flops slapped against the pavement as she hurriedly made her way back to her car. Get away, get away, get away, her footsteps seemed to scream at her. They were simply echoing the message that had been replaying in her heart ever since that night.

A tear rolled down her cheek and splashed onto the ground, drying up in the hot California heat before making even the slightest mark. It was as if it had never been there.


© Copyright 2019 Danielle Rose. All rights reserved.

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