Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Cup and Saucer (08/28/14)
- TITLE: A Cup of Hope
By Karen Milkiewicz
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Needing to get out of this place, she pulled on her faded hoodie and jammed her fists in her pockets. They came out with two crumpled bills, a handful of change, and a pack of old gum. That’s what she amounted to these days.
She pulled open the apartment door and slunk down the hallway, head down. The last thing she needed was to run into the landlord right now. The chill November wind whipped her hair against her face as she headed outside. Trash scattered across her path. She didn’t know where she was heading, but anywhere had to be better than here. She plodded aimlessly for several blocks, and when the chill had forced its way underneath her thin sweatshirt, she looked for a place to take refuge. She found herself standing in front of a 50’s style diner. Funny, she had never noticed this place before. She pulled open the door, and a jingling bell announced her presence. She found herself surrounded by warmth and smells that reminded her of her childhood.
A plump older woman called out to her. “Find a seat, dear, I’ll be with you in a minute.”
Cassie wasn’t sure what she was doing here. What could she buy for $2.42? Still, her feet moved her with a will of their own, and deposited her into the nearest booth. Slouched against the fake leather seat, she stared down at the table. A minute later, a beautiful china cup and matching saucer was set before her. The cup was filled with dark steaming liquid, inviting Cassie to take a drink and warm up from the inside out.
Cassie looked up, startled. “I didn’t order anything…”
The waitress looked down at her, smiling. “I know, dear, but you looked like you could use a cup of tea. It’s on the house.”
Cassie stared at her. The woman looked so much like her grandmother it was uncanny. Even the teacup looked like her grandmother’s. What kind of diner served tea in a china cup? As the waitress gazed at Cassie with a twinkle in her deep gray eyes, Cassie cradled the cup in her hands and took a long deep sip. The warm liquid traveled down her throat and ignited memories she thought were long buried. She couldn’t remember the last time she had a cup of tea, but she’d never forget the first time.
She was eight years old. Her grandmother had served her tea and cookies. When Grandma had presented Cassie with her very own cup and saucer, Cassie had felt so grown up. Never mind the fact that she loaded her cup with so much milk and sugar that you couldn’t tell there was tea in there, she was still drinking it. Her grandma trusted her with a fancy fragile cup. A single tear trailed down Cassie’s face as she longed for those simpler times. Grandma was different. She always believed in her. How could Cassie have forgotten that? Stirring her tea, she realized the cup held more than just a beverage. It gave her something she hadn’t had in a long time. Hope. Remembering the way things used to be gave her hope that someday she could get there again. She looked up at the waitress who patiently held out a tissue.
“If there’s anything else I can get you tonight, honey, it’s on the house.”
Cassie blotted her eyes. “Thank you. You’ve given me exactly what I needed already. If you’ll excuse me, I need to go call my grandma.”
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