Jane.

As Jane walked to the store, she could feel the seasons changing. More people had emerged from their homes to take a walk in the peeking sunlight, less bubble boy coats were visible, and there was a certain warmth that accompanied the new air. This made Jane’s walk much more enjoyable. She trotted to the store to pick up some eggs to bake a small cake with. This was something Jane did every year, as spring emerged. It would be a delicious little carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and two stacked layers within.

Jane was a dancer, living a simple life with a very simple paycheck. She was in the Nutcracker as one of the chorus girls. Every night, Jane wore a new pair of point shoes and by the springtime, she had 288 pairs. She lived with her boyfriend, Alexander, who was a poet. In their quiet, small life together, they built a home in the muffled streets of Brooklyn. Alexander, better known as Xander, got depressed quite frequently. Sometimes this depression was induced with alcohol; sometimes it was induced by the forces of nature. Jane tended to deal with his depression in a way she found to be very soothing. Smoking Gitanes’s. She thought it was the perfect solution, because she kept her slim figure and with each drag, she puffed away her pain.

Jane reached the small neighborhood grocery store and rang the little bell that dangled over the door as she pushed her way inside. She secretly loved that sound, looked down and smiled a bit. She walked over to the dairy isle, although there were no more organic eggs left. Since Jane and Xander lived in a primarily organic lifestyle, she wanted those organic eggs. There was a boy stacking shelves in an apron slightly misshapen. Jane did not recognize him, although she walked over to inquire about the eggs anyways. She tapped on his shoulder once, very lightly. He turned around immediately and ripped off his headphones. A relieved expression smoothed his face as he unintentionally gazed at Jane. “I thought you were the manager,” he said earnestly in a thick accent Jane was unfamiliar with. The accent was so intriguing to Jane that she asked him where it was from. “I come from Barcelona. I have just moved here”, he said. Jane was fascinated by him, although she remembered why she was there and asked the box boy about the eggs. He said that they had a bunch, but they were all in the stockroom.

Jane joined the nameless box boy on a hunt for her eggs. They had a bit of small talk, introduced themselves, and found the eggs. The boy’s name was Ferran, no older than about nineteen. He was worried that his manager was tapping him because he’s not supposed to listen to music when he’s working. He was listening to heavy metal. Jane was in a bit of a hurry, so she couldn’t talk with him for as long as she would have liked. As she was leaving, Ferran told her that he worked on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays for the whole night. Since it was a Friday that day, Jane wished him luck with the rest of the night.

Jane took the Q train home, her favorite train. It took just enough time to be considered a quick trip, but within that time, she could listen to three fourths of her travel playlist and have the perfect amount of music left to keep the nonstop accompaniment till she reached her doorstep. She also loved the train ride itself, and the lovely few minutes that she spent traveling across the bridge, above ground. She often thought of Xander in these few moments, as she looked out across the water. That only made her more eager to get home, and when her stop was announced she skipped off the train and danced her way home. As she reached her doorstep, the final song concluded in perfect synchronicity.

She opened the door quietly and walked up the stairs to her apartment. The linoleum that lined each stair had begun to fall off, so she stepped lightly to prevent more damage. She reached her apartment, 4C, and slid the key in, turning it slowly to the left. The lock clicked and she pushed the door open with a slight shove. Alexander sat in a chair in the middle of the room. All of the lights were off except for the little lamp on the table next to the chair. Jane greeted him with a soft kiss on his cheek and sat on the arm of his chair. “How was your day?” asked Jane, still holding the eggs in her lap. “Not the greatest.” Alexander responded quietly. There was a pronounced melancholy tone to his voice. Jane knew this tone all too well. This tone signified the imminent depression that seemed to surround Alexander most hours of the day. “Is there anything I can do? I’ve bought some eggs for my spring cake. I can make it now if you want.” Jane added in hopes of cheering Alexander up. Alexander took the eggs out of the bag and put the carton onto his lap. He opened the carton carefully, and Jane smiled. She loved it when he was gentle, and she thought she had achieved success in cheering him up. Alexander took one egg out and looked at it for a while. He stretched his arm upward and projected the egg at the wall. It crushed with a small noise and egg yolk dripped slowly onto the floor. Alexander then took the carton and hurled it at the ground, screaming with rage and frustration.

Jane was used to Alexander’s childlike behavior. It happened far too frequently in their fragile home, and Alexander carved away at the thin strings holding them together daily. Jane made an executive decision. She got up from the arm of the chair, walked over to their room, took a few pieces of clothing and put them into a backpack. She also packed her shampoo and toothbrush and the picture of her mother. She then walked out of the apartment, turned on her playlist, and walked to the subway. She took the train back to the grocery store.

Jane had wondered for years if Alexander was capable of change. It had taken her only one moment, one simple egg, to realize that it wasn’t in his nature. She still wanted to bake her cake, so she called her friend Flora to ask if she could stay with her for a bit. When Jane told Flora what had happened, Flora immediately said that she would get anything that Jane needed. Jane asked if she had the means to bake a carrot cake. Flora said, “Not quite, all I need are eggs”. Jane responded with, “Perfect.”.

Jane walked back to the grocery store and rang the little bell with satisfaction. Ferran’s face lit up with elation. Jane said, “I need more eggs.” Ferran took her into the back and found the eggs, and Jane said thank you. She hugged him, and he pulled away and looked at her with a puzzled expression. She asked him quietly, “Would you like some cake?”.





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