Free Samples | Teen Ink

Free Samples

September 24, 2016
By foxhaunt SILVER, Ruther Glen, Virginia
foxhaunt SILVER, Ruther Glen, Virginia
8 articles 1 photo 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Everyone is a moon and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody." - Mark Twain

    Behind a closed apartment door, there was a soft weeping. Four years ago, the sobbing was much stronger, but each and every day for the past few years, slowly but surely, it grew softer and softer. The girl whose cheeks these tears soaked as if she was staring at the sky as heavy raindrops fell upon them must have felt she would soon run out of tears if she did not try to lessen them, as it was surely not the pain that was becoming any less.

    No, the pain was still there - the pain from the heartbreak that had nearly destroyed her at the very end of her senior year in high school. The pain that had sent her through countless therapy sessions with nearly every therapist in town. But after each one, she left still feeling hopeless. The pain had completely numbed any and all feelings of love.

    “Love.” That word made her laugh. Though it was not the joyful kind, more of the nervous kind of laughter one might give after hearing terrible news, hoping that it was just a joke. Because that’s what love was. A joke. A lie that people would make up so to not face the reality of a merciless, cold, selfish world.

    Indeed it had been four years since her last relationship had ended. Of course she knew it was silly to continue to dwell on that. But that did not change her emotions. Nothing ever would, and even if it could, she would not let it. Because before he had come along, she was in this exact state. He had changed it though, just like the one before that and the one before that. But then, just as the others had, he changed it back. Each of them had done it in a different way, from lying to cheating to emotional abuse, to just abandoning her for absolutely no reason at all. But they were still all the same - the same processes in the same endless unbreakable cycle. Well, unbreakable unless she simply didn’t let one of the steps happen, and so she didn’t. No more falling in love, no more confiding in others, no more trying to just believe in a happily ever after, no more heartbreak, and no more pain. Really the only two she wouldn’t miss were the last two, but in her mind, they outweighed the rest.

    Finally, today’s weeping session came to an end. No more tears were left. They were all dried up on her cheeks, now the color of shiny red tomatoes. For a couple hours, she lied in bed, curled up under the sheets, blocking out the rest of the world, and attempting to block out her emotions. And then, she got up and prepared herself for a drive. She did not have a destination in mind, but she was not stupid, and realized that she could not just barricade herself indoors, away from the rest of the world - at least not forever.

    For a while, she just drove around town, watching the busy streets and shops of a Saturday afternoon. When she realized that this was using up the expensive gas in her car very quickly, she stopped in the parking lot of a mall. Brushing her hands through her hair, no longer caring too much about her appearance, she grabbed her purse and went into the mall, where she browsed the shops for an hour or so. She was almost ready to leave but then decided to stop at one of her favorite stores, Teavana. Her tea supply at home was beginning to run low, and that was really the only thing that soothed her mind anymore.

    Before walking through the entrance, she was greeted with a warm smile by the tall brown-haired man who was handing out samples.

    “Would you like to try a free sample?”

    “Sure,” she said, returning the smile.

    He put a clear, small plastic cup under the dispenser and poured her a small amount of hot, copper-colored tea before handing it to her. She took it and drank it all in a single sip, the warmth and touch of spice from the tea somehow clearing her mind of all negativity. Something about this man seemed to help, too.

    “What do you think?” he said.

    “That might just be the best tea I’ve ever had,” she replied.

    “It’s one of my personal favorites too. Would you like another taste?”

    “Isn’t that against the rules, for one person to take more than one sample?”

    He laughed. “Don’t worry. I won’t tell.” She joined him. It felt strange to hear her own laughter. It was an unfamiliar sound.

    She handed back the cup and allowed him to pour her a second sample. She gulped it down before thanking him and flashing him another smile to say goodbye. Then she disappeared into the rest of the crowd browsing the tea shop.

    A while later, she walked back out, struggling to hold the heavy, large container of tea she had just bought, along with smaller containers of other types of tea. “I guess you really did love that tea.” A familiar voice stopped her before she was about to walk off. She turned around and saw the same man that had given her the samples, and gave a shy smile. “Would you like some help carrying that?” he offered. “Oh, um, thank you,” she stumbled, handing over the largest container, “but doesn’t someone need to stay and hand out samples?” He just shrugged, leaving her question unanswered, and together they walked through the crowded parking lot.

    “So, do you just drink tea? How do you feel about coffee?” he asked.

    “I like it.”

    “Really? What a coincidence. So do I. Perhaps we should get some together sometime.”

    Suddenly, she felt as if there was a hummingbird inside her chest, trying to escape. The last date she had been on was two years ago, and she had bursted out in tears in the middle of it when she was reminded of her last boyfriend. If she went on another one, it would undoubtedly end the same way. “No thank you,” she said in a near whisper.

    “I insist.” Why did he have to be so persistent? “There’s a cafe right down the street. I think you would like it.”

    She sighed, shaking her head. They reached her car. “Thank you,” she said before taking the containers from him and placing them in the passenger’s seat. “Goodbye.” He waved to her as she drove off, headed back to her lonely apartment.

    Over the next few weeks, she returned to the mall on several occasions, each time around the same time and day, always stopping by Teavana whether she needed tea or not, secretly in hopes that she would come across the man who had given her the samples. And each time, she did. When he was not in or near Teavana, she would come across him in the food court. They would constantly talk for as long as time allowed about everything from television shows to random stories to deeper topics. She found out they had a lot in common, including the fact that they both lived alone and did not go out much usually.

    Each time, he had attempted to convince her into going on a date with him. He really didn’t want to annoy her, but he also didn’t want to let her get away. He once asked her why she didn’t want to go out, and she explained to him that it was due to her fear of heartbreak and entrusting others. He tried to explain to her that she shouldn’t let her fear get in the way of a chance of happiness, and that every guy isn’t the same. Eventually someone will come along that will treat her right like she deserves, and he just wanted to be that person. She listened closely and really didn’t have anything to say that would oppose his wise words, but still, she said no.

    Whenever he asked her, she wanted to say yes - she really did - but each time she was almost able to force the word out, memories of her past dates and heartbreaks filled her mind, sometimes bringing tears. Whenever he complimented her, which was quite often, all she could think was, “He’s just saying that to make fun of me” or “He’s just trying to make me happy” even though he truly did believe in what he spoke.

    Whatever he said to her always made her happy. Just hearing his voice would bring euphoria. In fact, any day that she got to see him, she would not cry for the next few days. And then, when she did return to being engulfed by nostalgia, thinking of him would help distract her. Nothing had ever made her feel the way he did - not even her past boyfriends.

    Today, she went to the mall again, anxious to see him again, as she planned on finally forcing herself to say yes to his continuously-asked question. She still did not fully trust him with her heart yet, but she would agree to give him a chance.

    She surveyed the food court, where he usually was, but today, that was not the case. She looked at her phone to check the time and realized it was a few minutes later than their usual meeting time. Perhaps he was back at work. She walked down to Teavana and saw an unfamiliar woman handing out samples at the front. She first looked inside the shop first to make sure he was not there, as she would do anything to avoid conversing with strangers. Once she concluded he was not inside, she tentatively asked the woman giving out samples if she knew where he could be found. She gave her a shrug and then turned around to ask a family if they enjoyed their tea samples. Frustrated but trying hard not to think too much of it, she left, planning to return tomorrow.

    The next day, she checked both places for him, but he was nowhere to be found. If only she’d gotten his number… She stayed at the mall almost all day, continuously looking for him, and finally decided to ask the cashiers at Teavana if they knew when his hours were. When they didn’t know, she demanded to see the manager, which was unlike her. She had to wait for an hour until the manager finally arrived.

    “He hasn’t been here in over a week. In fact, I should probably call him to let him know he’s fired,” the manager said. He walked off and returned a few minutes later. “Well, I guess I don’t have to fire him.” He paused. “He’s passed. He was in a car accident.”

    She froze from shock. Was this a joke? He broke the news so emotionlessly; it couldn’t be true. Finally, she let out a laugh - the same kind that the word “love” used to do to her. But it was true. The man who’d given her free samples and somehow managed to make her happy the past few weeks for the first time in years, and had the potential to completely change her life and allow her to break the cycle - he was gone.

    He had been stopped at a traffic light and did not notice that it had changed to green. He was zoned out, thinking of the beautiful girl, inside and out, he had met at the mall weeks ago. The large truck behind him, expecting him to move, drove forward, smashing into his car. An ambulance had come and driven him to the hospital, but it was helpless. After two days, he died in the hospital, all alone in his room, from brain damage.

    She went home and got into bed even though it was only seven o’ clock. She would not return to the mall for months. For years, she went back to the daily routine she had developed before she had met him. Except now, when she wept, it did not grow weaker by the day, and instead of tears over pain and heartbreak, these tears were brought upon by remorse and longing to feel his presence again. And now, she did not have her favorite tea to soothe her, as every time she tasted it, she would just be reminded of the man who had first given her the free samples.

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This article has 9 comments.

on Mar. 22 2018 at 12:45 pm
Dani_Higareda PLATINUM, Hanahan, South Carolina
20 articles 0 photos 109 comments

Favorite Quote:
“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”
- Winnie the Pooh

When I first started reading this, I couldn't stop until I finished. By the end, I was like, "Oh my gosh! This is great!" You are very talented and I liked everything about the story. I usually don't like sad endings, but this one was very unique. Keep writing:)

on Oct. 6 2016 at 3:07 pm
foxhaunt SILVER, Ruther Glen, Virginia
8 articles 1 photo 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Everyone is a moon and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody." - Mark Twain

Wow, thank you so much!! I'm really glad you enjoyed it ^^

on Oct. 5 2016 at 8:38 pm
TheModernPotato, Ann Arbor, Michigan
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I would agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong." -Winston Churchill

I really enjoyed reading this! Honestly, I didn't think I was going to read the whole thing but the beginning was very poetic, which really drew me in, and I'm glad I did, because I loved the rest of the story. Keep writing; you're really good at it! ^_^

on Oct. 4 2016 at 7:20 pm
foxhaunt SILVER, Ruther Glen, Virginia
8 articles 1 photo 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Everyone is a moon and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody." - Mark Twain

Thanks so much for your feedback! I'll definitely try and use it to help me with my future writing ^^ P.S. So can I haha c;

on Oct. 4 2016 at 3:24 pm
thewarrior77 GOLD, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
19 articles 23 photos 40 comments

Favorite Quote:
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” - C. S. Lewis

Hi! I saw your forum post and had to check out the story. I really enjoyed reading it.what really works in your story off the bat, is the descriptions and imagery. In a writing clasd im taking, today we talked about how great imagery, stimulates all five senses. With tea in your story, I feel like it's a good chance to try that. Expand on what senses your imagery connects to. Also, you do a good job with developing your main characters voice, even through third person. There are some parts of the story that feel like can be cut down, primarily the explanatory, backstory parts - there are so many other ways to incorporate back story tidbits (old photos, used tissues, etc.). In addition, some sentences can be a bit lengthy and weighed down, while this is sometimes a style many choose, I feel like sentence balance makes the story easier for the reader to chew. Enough crit - your story was great! I didnt find the ending that cliche, to be honest I was surprised and sad! I kind of wished that the charcter could have grown more from the experience rather than falling back-good stories that end in tragedy find some way to pull light from the darkness of it. I love your descriptions and how you use them to reflect emotional states. I really liked this piece. Cant wait to read more of what you got! Hope this helps. I mostly drew from helpful things gleaned from my short fiction writing class. Ps. I can relate to that girl and Teavana. It gives me life :-)

on Sep. 30 2016 at 6:23 pm
foxhaunt SILVER, Ruther Glen, Virginia
8 articles 1 photo 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Everyone is a moon and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody." - Mark Twain

Wow, thanks so much for your feedback! I definitely do realize that it was pretty cliche. The only thing I think makes my story significantly different is the fact that it has a sad ending, which I very rarely see (at least in the stories I read). I do get what you mean though, and it certainly hasn't put me down at all, it actually helps! I usually cant stand cliches either, so I'm going to try extra hard to avoid them in my future writing. (: Thanks again!

on Sep. 30 2016 at 4:49 pm
Jtatsu PLATINUM, East Brunswick, New Jersey
26 articles 0 photos 77 comments
I've been debating whether I should write a comment here, but then I remembered that feeling of frustration I usually get when I ask for feedback and none is given, so I decided it would be unfair for me to read this without commenting. Anyway, I'd like to say that I loved your use of details; they really enhanced the imagery throughout the story. The part where you described the boy's first person view of the accident was especially profound. Additionally, I found your dialogue to be really natural sounding, which doesn't sound like much, but is actually a pretty incredible feat, especially when it comes to romance. I liked your story and there's no mistakes that I could see, but the one thing that does bother me is the cliche. This was a story about a girl getting over a breakup after an excessively long period of time, falling in love with a random boy who just happens to like her back, and due to some circumstance (in this case, death), she can't be with him. Sound familiar? Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy your story, and there's nothing wrong with a little cliche at times, but I honestly think it's a bit of a shame that you didn't use more original ideas. You have all the marks of a good writer, and it just feels like you're not utilizing all the skills you have at your fingertips, but that might just be my inner cliche hater speaking. Please don't feel down about what I've said, because while I did have several criticisms for your piece, I believe you have potential and should keep writing. Good job putting this out there!

on Sep. 28 2016 at 11:39 am
foxhaunt SILVER, Ruther Glen, Virginia
8 articles 1 photo 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Everyone is a moon and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody." - Mark Twain

Thanks, it means a lot! (:

HammadWaseem said...
on Sep. 28 2016 at 11:35 am
HammadWaseem, Lahore, Other
0 articles 5 photos 283 comments

Favorite Quote:
Be proud of who you are.

You can't see me
-John Cena

Ooh, somebody stop me!

WOW! you are so talented. :)