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Adolescence and Hot Chocolate

The icy wetness of the ocean sprayed across Tessa’s face, leaving the jagged remnants of sea salt on her pale cheeks. Using the sleeve of her coat, she gently rubbed off the water and sand. Her face was brittle from the cold December air. She stood on the walkway, leaning over the dark wood fence that creaked when she made the slightest movement; focusing ahead to the choppy waters of the beach. She wore her usual attire: a dark green military styled jacket pulled over various shades of grey wool sweaters and black leggings; tucked into black strappy combat boots. She was a natural, a hipster in her own time, her ruby red hair brushed lightly against the tip of her nose. In disapproval, she lifted her hands to tuck her hair behind her ears. She stood there. With her eyes closed; listening to the waves crashing on the rocks beneath her. She attempted to think of something else, anything to keep her thoughts from recalling the events that unfolded earlier that night, but all her attempts failed. She had tried walking around the block of her house numerous times, and soon walking turned to running, and running led her here: the beach, her sanctuary. Now she was alone and troubled, staring mindlessly into the depths of the watery pit beneath her. The shrill slamming of the door still rung significantly in her ears and her olive-blue eyes were still sore from the tears that had caressed her face.

Tessa was eighteen and considered an adult in society’s standards. Then why did she not feel like one? She hated having to decide for herself, and most of all she hated having to fix a messy situation. Tessa missed being Tess; the little girl who would play on the monkey bars and wore pigtails with multicolored bands. The best part about being Tess: no repercussions. If little Tess made a mistake, she would cry and then her mother would forgive her, make her a warm cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows, then she would cozy up on the couch next to the fireplace, while her mother soothed her and gently stroked her hair, while saying; “it’s going to be okay, don’t cry Tessie.” Tessa yearned to be little again, to think of no repercussions. Now everything came with a consequence. Like a gift, being happy to open it and bask in its pride and glory, then when you finally tear off the big bow on top to reveal the much awaited surprise, you want to give it back; but there’s that big pesky sticker plastered on top that says no refunds. Now if she would cry, she would be considered immature and be asked to “fix her own problems.” Her mother’s voice still echoed in the back of her head. She had made a mistake, and yelled at her mother; but she had never walked out before. This was strange and new to Tessa, a sort of unfamiliar strange that she did not appreciate or take comfort in. The thing she wanted most she knew she could not have: her mother’s forgiveness.

The wind started to pick up, blowing her hair from its secure place and numbing her body. She looked down at her hands, which she had been fiddling with. She feared returning to her home, to beg her mother for pity. A cold and wet drop of water fell lightly onto her forehead, but this time it was not the water spraying from the ocean, it was beginning to mist. She had no time to think her life over; it was either go home or stay near the ocean and welcome in hypothermia. The more she thought it over, the more the rain droplets would fall on her head. It was time to go home. So she walked for what seemed like an eternity until she saw the familiar light up ahead.

Tessa walked up the marble stairs, listening to the light noise her boots made as they carefully touched each step, trying to create as little sound as possible. She still needed time to think; at least she was standing under the extended roof of the dimly lit porch instead of hovering in the dark as rain dampened her clothes minute by minute. Tessa’s hair was moist and began to curl at the ends due to the excessive hydration it was receiving. Now she stood outside of the tarnished door she had come to know and love, with the slightest hope that she would be accepted. She trembled at the thought of her mother denying her apologies; goose bumps began to rise on her arms and legs. She shivered again, and a wet tear began to run down her cheek, making her even colder. Tessa did not wish to stress the situation much longer; her stomach was turning at the slightest thought of being yelled at again. She could not lift her hand up to the knob of the door. She was scared out of her mind, she had made a mistake, but she wondered if it had been too late to be able to resolve it. Maybe this time Tessa went too far? She was eighteen, completely capable of living on her own. It was feasible that her mother would take advantage of that verity and tell her to pack her bags and move out, but she was remorseful. She wanted to be absolved, she needed to be forgiven. Now more then ever, Tessa was in need of her mother’s comforting hugs and warm hot chocolate. So Tessa solemnly lifted up her trembling pallid hand and reached for the door knob. The handle was cold to the touch, rain droplets trickled down its steep slope, she put her thumb slowly on the lever and pushed.
A burst of warm air caressed Tessa’s cold and wet hand as she opened the door. Soon the warmth spread to her entire arm, and then to her weak body. She stood there in the doorway, looking around the room; the fireplace was roaring as the flames consumed the darkening wood. The lights were dimmed and the room gave off a warmth and luminescence. Her mother was nowhere in sight. Tessa trembled, feeling anxious from the lack of conversation in the room and the crackling of the fire. She slowly spun around on her heel and quietly shut the door. As she turned around, Tessa heard her mother’s footsteps from the kitchen, “Tess?” She called out in an anxious and quiet voice. Her mother appeared around the corner of the kitchen, her eyes were puffy and damp from crying. “Tess!” She said in an enthusiastic and worried tone. “Where have you been? I was so worried. Are you okay?” She asked hurriedly as she ran from the kitchen to her position. She hugged Tessa in open arms, rubbing the back of her damp coat. “I have missed you so much Tessie! I’m so sorry. I should not have yelled at you like that.” She said as she pulled back from the hug and looked into her eyes. “Tessie. Oh god. I’m so sorry.” She looked at Tessa with worried eyes, the tears began to puddle around the rims, making them look even bluer. Tessa smiled. Her face had been delicate, sore from fatigue and crying, but, she smiled nonetheless, her mind filling with warmth and happiness. Tessa had spent all her time worrying about the repercussions of her actions and the hatred that her mother would lash at her; but in the moment, she forgot all but one essential emotion: love. Right there and then, the only emotion that Tessa’s mother felt was her love for her daughter. “Virgil was right,” Tessa said to herself, “love really does conquer all.” Her cheeks brightened in color and Tessa smiled, tears beginning to fill her eyes as well, out of happiness. “I’m sorry too, mom.”



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