Chai For the Road (23/30 Stories)

Big jump, I know. Several in a row weren’t destined for WordPress. Anyway, this was just something cutesy I wrote while I was visiting family in South Florida.

Sarah shifted nervously in line at Baldy’s. It was game day in Oakwood, and Sarah was at the end of a very impatient line. Baldy’s had bought out the only coffee shop in Oakwood, so everyone had to buy their fancy coffee here now.

By the time Sarah got up to the register, she and the barista were the only people in the coffee shop.

“What can I get you?” he asked with a friendly smile. He was older than Sarah, probably twenty-five. He had sandy brown hair and crows’ feet around his gray eyes. His plaid shirt hung loose over a light T-shirt.

“Pumpkin chai,” Sarah almost whispered. She adjusted her gray beanie with one hand and fished crumpled cash from her pocket with the other.

“Here,” Mike said, dropping a quarter and two pennies into her outstretched palm. “Are you going to the game with anyone?” he added by way of conversation as he steamed the milk.

“I’m not going.”

Mike turned surprised eyes toward her. He observed her two shirts, hoodie, and jacket. He saw the neon leggings through the rips in her skinny jeans. He saw the overstuffed backpack and worn leather boots.

“You going on a trip?” he asked, quick fingers assembling her drink.

“Yeah,” Sarah said, tucking her hands in her pockets. “My bus leaves in half an hour.”

“Where are you going?”

“Out West. Wanna see the Grand Canyon with my own eyes.”

“Beautiful place,” Mike said, sliding her the cup. “Pictures don’t do it justice.”

“You’ve been there?”

“Yup.” Mike smiled. “Have fun.”

Sarah picked up her cup. She rolled her shoulders back and smiled. “I will.”


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