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Getting Things Straight This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

“So let me get this straight. You just waited 15 minutes in line at a busy New York Starbucks so you could buy what? An overpriced orange juice?”

“Hmm… yea?” I slide into the seat across from her and set the bottle onto the table with an overdramatic hand gesture, as if I were a waiter bringing the first course at a gourmet restaurant. “Don’t see why not.”

She1 blows at her hot coffee, cupping the lid-less paper cup with both hands. “It’s 15 degrees outside. And here you are with an ice cold children’s drink.” Her gentle laughter warms the air around us as she1 stares down at her drink. “You were right when you said our first official “date” was gonna be memorable.”

“Hey if you’re nice, I’ll even take you to the zoo later to see the ninjas there make boba tea after we finish buying prescription drugs at Toys R Us,” I say with a wink.

Crick crack snap. I twist the cap off the bottle and take a quick swig of the orange juice. The little bits of pulp tickle my throat as they follow gravity down, down, down. Ahhh.

“So why orange juice?” she1 questions with a tip of her left eyebrow. Only her eyes are visible while she1 takes a sip of coffee. They’re really cute you know. Her eyes that is. They’re brown, and match the color of her hair. She1’s got those eyes that would look good with any shirt. They seem to blend in perfectly with all that is around her, while remaining brilliantly obvious at the same time.

“That’s a good question. But a better question is… why coffee?” I shoot her an equally inquisitive stare.

She1 laughs, louder this time, and lightly punches me in the arm. Yay she1’s laughing again. Don’t make it stop. “Oh come on! I would’ve thought that they’d stop selling juice after the temperature dropped below 50 degrees!”

I put my hands up innocently. “Why would they take it away? So I could die from my lack of vitamin c?” I lie back in the seat and stick my tongue out, loosely hanging over the side of my mouth, as I play almost-dead. “911, I’m gonna need an ambulance. And a shot of orange juice,” I wheeze. A quick spasm of my body adds to the effect.

She1 stands up, grabs the bottle, and pretends to hit me with it. She1’s still smiling. I sink lower into my seat with every swing. Gosh we must look like idiots to everyone else.

I think that thought eventually got to her too cuz soon enough she1’s back in her seat, smoothing out barely noticeable (if not nonexistent) creases on her shirt. She1 always does that when she1’s nervous or embarrassed. She1 once spilled a whole beaker of purple whatever-liquid-it-is all over the lab floor and her hands, and that’s when I first noticed that habit. She1 just stood there smearing the purple gook onto her white shirt timidly while I wiped the floor clean for her. I later remarked “So you drew art on your shirt while I performed the back breaking work of cleaning up after you?” She1 punched me of course, but she1’s been wearing that shirt to lab every single day.

“I’ll answer your question when the time is right,” I say seriously. “In like, I don’t know, 37.16 minutes or so.” The smiles are back and she1 rolls her eyes. Not in a mean way of course. More like in a “oh I give up” kind of way.


“Besides. If I gave you all my deepest darkest secrets, wouldn’t you lose interest in me?”




Today I’m at the same Starbucks, but with a different person.
After 5 years of being best buds and 3 years of being “officially” in a relationship (by official I mean Facebook official of course), she1 did end up losing interest in me. But that’s fine of course. Life just drew us apart.
It’s beautiful outside. Just beautiful. The sun is out. The birds are chirping. The flowers are in full bloom.

She2 just so happens to make it all prettier. Her golden hair blends in with the sun’s rays and her eyes seem to soak up the reflections of every sparkling ocean.

She2’s sipping on a cool caramel frap, and I’m cradling a cup of hot chocolate. She2’s looking at me with the same look of curiosity that she1 showed years ago.

“So… why hot chocolate?”

“Why not?”

She2 seems almost satisfied by my response. Sweet.


I don’t think she1 ever understood that you can’t simply “get things straight.” Life isn’t straight. It’s more of a random flurry of lines. You never really know where the next turn is gonna be. Could be there, could be here. Maybe now, or later. So if life is so unpredictable, then shouldn’t we be too?



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