donuts by Grace Beilman

There I was, sitting at an outdoor lunch table, contributing nothing to the world except being a third wheel to my sister and her boyfriend who didn’t realize that they were in a public place. That morning before I sat in the glorious spot that is the high school cafeteria, my step-father bestowed upon me a box of a dozen Dunkin’ Donuts. As I ate one, I took inventory of all that was left in the box.  Four glazed, three chocolate, one strawberry, one maple, and two jelly. I looked up from the box and he said, “Make sure all twelve of those are gone by the time you get off the bus. And do not throw them away, make some new friends.”

    I had already eaten one of my favorites, glazed, in hopes that I would only have to talk to eleven people instead of twelve. So, there I was, at the lunch table. I watched my sister, who was attached to her boyfriend’s face, while I sat isolated with a box of eleven donuts sitting next to me, hoping this social torture would soon be over. In what felt like five hours but was only a hazy, 30-second blur, three donuts were gone. I took notice of the fuzzy outlines of the people who had taken them. Brown hair and blue eyes. Blonde hair and green eyes. Brown hair and brown eyes. Eight donuts left: three glazed, three chocolate, one strawberry, one jelly.

    The main reason I had decided to go to this school was to get away from the closed-off, conservative community of my crazy Catholic school, and to make new friends. Now I was starting to think I’d made the wrong choice. My sister was supposed to be my guide and show me “the ropes” of high school, but it seemed as if she had more important business to attend to. As I was now coming to find out, she didn’t have any friends, only casual acquaintances in each one of her classes. When I came back from my internal tornado of spiraling questions and concerns, two more donuts had been taken. Six donuts left: one glazed, three chocolate, one strawberry, one jelly.

    This was the point where the crushing weight of the possibilities knocked me out of my seat. Why did I choose to come to this school? My sister was not going to be my best friend, always at my side here. I was not going to make any new friends because the donuts were being taken out of the box too fast, and I couldn’t focus, and I was going to cry, and all these stupid donuts I had made me feel like I was stuck on a stage with the spotlight on me for the rest of eternity. Only three donuts left, thank god.

    In the back of my mind I did not want to upset my step-father. I was determined to get one name that I could use to persuade him into thinking I had made a friend. A girl with brown hair and green eyes glanced at the box and started to drift towards the table. I had another opportunity. “What’s your-”. Before I could even get my sentence out, she was gone. I consoled myself with the fact that my opportunities were not over. I had two donuts still waiting. A gleaming chocolate glazed donut and a freshly powdered jelly still awaited human contact. Before I could get the words swirling around in my head out of my mouth, my sister’s boyfriend reached his immense and dangerous hand over to the box and picked up the chocolate donut. He shoved the donut into his mouth without thinking about what damage that would cause me. The last lonesome, jelly-filled donut sat before me. I grabbed that remaining donut, the one that no one wanted, and I took a bite. I got up to walk to my homeroom and away from my imaginary present and future. I hate jelly donuts.

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