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Lost in Havoc

By @gurlcynical

2// changes and milkshakes

Even the smallest changes in our daily routine can create incredible ripple effects that expand our vision of what is possible.”

I told myself I wouldn’t be bothered with the papers I got from the people at school. But here I am, leaning at the cash register, with my furrowed eyebrows staring at this quote Ms. Beaumont gave me for seems like an eternity the moment I started my shift at Lotte’s YoArt.

I shook my head, clicked my tongue, and squinted my eyes from time to time, trying to make sense of what this quote was trying to convey.

I mean, technically, the quote seemed understandable, and that’s what made it harder to understand.

It’s supposed to help me and I don’t see what’s so special with this statement that will be of much help to me.

And funny is that, why do I even care?

Brian and Naomi, my co-workers, must have noticed my drastic change of body movement and clicking of my tongue once in a while because I can hear their hisses at my back.

“You okay there, Ellie?” Naomi asked, full of curiosity.

“Yeah, don’t mind me,” I replied to her.

“It seems like you’re not.” I felt Brian’s breath on my left ear as he snatched the paper from my hands.

“Hey, give it back to me.” I extended my arms and tried to ****** the paper from him.

He dodged his hands rapidly, and I failed to retrieve the paper from his hands.

Brian stuck his tongue out in my failed attempt at snatching the paper and stretched his arms up so that it was above him.

I jumped as high as possible as I could in hoping to retrieve it from him, but considering his 5’9 height to my mere 5-foot height; it is impossible for me to reach the paper.

“Is this from a secret admirer?” Brian teased. “Look at that, Naomi, our baby Ellie of Lotte’s YoArt has a secret admire.” Naomi just stood and shook her head, amused.

Brian, Naomi, Chesca, and I were the only employees here in Lotte’s YoArt. Chesca was out of town for a family reunion, leaving only the three of us to work. They were all older than me. Chesca was just one year older than me and the two were three years older. Therefore, they consider me as their baby in the shop.

“That’s none of your business, Brian. Give it back.” I said between breaths as I eagerly jumped to reach for the paper.

“Okay, that’s enough.” Naomi butted in and grabbed a chair to climb it and took the paper from Brian.

“If this is really from a secret admirer, it’s necessary that we should look at it. We don’t want our baby Ellie to get hurt by some stupid high school boy.” Naomi pouted.

“Thanks, Naomi, but seriously it’s just nothing,” I said helplessly, there is nothing I can do anymore, their eyes were already on the paper and maybe they can help me understand what that statement means so I just let them be.

“Uh, your secret admirer seems like a life guru?” Brian shot me a confusing look.

“No, Brian,” I answered as I walked towards them and grabbed the paper from Naomi’s hands.

“It’s just a piece of **** of paper and besides, I shouldn’t have been staring at this and slacking off. Sorry.” I said and sat in the chair Naomi grabbed earlier.

“Smallest changes, huh?” Naomi asked, with her index finger at her chin.

I looked up at her, waiting for some insights.

Naomi looked at the paper again and peered at me. “It’s just a simple quote, Ellie. Why bother so much?”

“It’s just… Never mind.” I looked down at the floor.

“Look, if you’re looking for something deeper in that quote, then why not do that ‘smallest changes’ it’s saying?” she suggested as she did the quote gesture with her hands.

“Smallest changes? Like what?” Brian furrowed his eyebrows and Naomi smacked his head.

“Like brushing your teeth every day. Your breath smells like ****, Brian.” Naomi said to him and they started arguing like kids.

I watched the two of them catfight like babies.

Obviously, Brian was the dumber than anyone in this frozen yogurt shop. Naomi was like the eldest sibling and me and Chesca were the younger ones who watch the older siblings fight like babies, wondering how come they were older than us.

Either way, I love being with them. At least they make me forget how lonely and ****** my life has been, even just for a brief time.

“Excuse me.” Someone cleared their throat and called out for attention at the cash register.

I looked over my shoulder and saw a woman with dark and icy blue eyes by the register, waiting for someone to accommodate her. I walked towards her, smiling.

“Hi, welcome to Lotte’s YoArt. What can I get you?” I greeted her.

“Hmm, can I get a blueberry pomegranate?” she requested.

“Sure, ma’am. Wait, a sec.”

I walked to the yogurt station and grabbed a carton. I opened the freezer where the flavored frozen yogurts were and the sweet-smelling of the delicate dessert greeted me.

I grabbed the scoop for the blueberry pomegranate and put four scoops on the carton.

“Here’s your blueberry pomegranate, Ma’am. That would be four dollars.” I handed the frozen yogurt to her. She gave me a five-dollar bill, and I took it as the cash register opened from below.

“Excuse me,” she interrupted. I looked up at her and smiled. “I’m sorry, but have we met before?” she asked me.

I examined her face, that had little wrinkles in her forehead. She must have been in her 50s or 40s, yet she looked beautiful and flawless, with her ebony hair and icy blue eyes and I think I have never seen such a beautiful woman before. This might be her first time here in Lotte’s YoArt because this is the first time I have seen her around.

“Hm… Not that I can remember, Ma’am.” I answered.

“Yeah, I’m sorry.” She chuckled. “Maybe you just look like someone else,” she stated. I smiled at her.

“Here is your change, Ma’am. You can now go to our topping station and create your very own yogurt. Get as many toppings as you can, because you can only come back once. If you wish to have another round of toppings, you can for one dollar. Thank you and have a marvelous day!” I told her as I move my hand to the location of the topping station.

The woman walked away with a smile beaming on her lips. I followed her with my eyes as her ebony hair hit the sun from outside. I wished I could have seen her eyes, though. It would be cool to see the blueness of it under the sun.

It was by this time I realized it was already golden hour. The daylight illuminated the shop through the enormous windows with its soft and warm colors. I looked at Brian and Naomi. Thank God they were done arguing.

“Hey, I will take a break,” I informed them as I took off my apron and head towards the back of the shop.

Lotte’s YoArt is a frozen yogurt shop in Bakersfield downtown. Charlotte Brown owned it. She is a woman in her mid-30’s, blue eyes with blonde hair.

If her employees were the children, she was our mother. Despite Charlotte’s caring mother personality, she has for us; she doesn’t have children, let alone a husband.

She said she has no time for that, for her focus was on her sister who has down syndrome and is dedicated to her frozen yogurt shop. I mean, who will not?

Lotte’s YoArt is pretty famous here in downtown, not just because many people go here for refreshments from the California heat, but because Charlotte’s shop has many franchises around America and one of her franchise is at Los Angeles.

Hence, having her shop in the city where it is the center of the nation’s film and television industry, Lotte’s YoArt has been featured in several movies, thus the reason I found this place because I’ve seen it in movies my dad and I watched. And considering my love for yogurts, I worked here.

Golden hours at the back of Lotte’s YoArt is my favorite time of my shift, not because it’s a break time for me, but because there’s this huge wall at the back of Lotte’s YoArt that has a mural painting of tall grasses with kids biking on the road.

During golden hours, the sunlight hits the mural art so perfectly that all the colors tinted on the wall comes into full brightness and all I can remember was that last perfect scene I’ve seen in my life before I witnessed my dad was laying at that convenience store, not breathing.

How ironic is that this mural painting is giving me so many hues and shades to see, but all I can make out from it is that one moment in my existence where all the colors in my life had drained out in a snap?

I looked at the quote Ms. Beaumont gave me once again and sighed.

“This is full of ********,” I whispered to myself.

“I think that is full of something.” someone butted in.

I looked at my back and saw Charlotte with frozen yogurts in both her hands. She gave me one yogurt in her hand. Strawberry yogurt with strawberry syrup, sprinkles, bits of peaches, almonds, gummy bears, and strawberry boba poppers. I smiled. It’s filled with things I love.

I took the frozen yogurt from her hand, “Oh, thank you, Charlotte.”

Charlotte took a seat beside me. “Oh, don’t thank me. Thank Brian and Naomi. They made that for you. They said you looked down the entire shift and kept on staring at a piece of paper.”

I looked at the frozen yogurt and took a spoonful inside my mouth and God; This is so far the best thing that happened to me today.

Thanks, Brian and Naomi.

“What are you thinking, Ellie?” Charlotte asked, taking a spoonful of yogurt inside her mouth too.

I can tell it is lemon flavor because of its citrus smell and probably some almonds or granola crunch toppings that creates a munching sound in her mouth every time she chews.

“Smallest changes? I don’t know actually, Charlotte.” I took another spoonful of my frozen yogurt.

“Smallest changes. That’s a good start, actually.”

“You think? I mean, I’ve been through this big change in my life. It was an oppressive change, actually. Like moving here, my dad died and after that, it also changed my mom badly. Because of that change will never be my friend. And people are now starting me with these smallest changes? I’ve had enough changes, Charlotte. I want no more changes, even if this will be the smallest in the world.” I told her.

“We’re talking about a change within you, Ellie. Not changes you can’t control. Like how your dad died. You didn’t know your dad will die. You can’t also control how your mom feels after your dad died. So why don’t you change yourself that will help you see differently those changes you can’t control. And you can start that by doing the smallest changes. Can you think of the smallest changes you have done after your dad died?” Charlotte asked.

“Hmm, working here in Lotte’s YoArt?” I answered, not sure.

“You think? Because I think it’s not.” Charlotte asked. I got a little ******.

“Why not? At least I am not locking myself in my room grieving, because my dad died. I find my way to forget everything in the past and that is by taking a job here.” I protested to her.

“You don’t forget the past, Ellie. You move on from them and let go of them. That’s why are you working here is not a change, it’s a scapegoat for you to forget your past instead of facing them.”

I looked down at my melting yogurt as the golden hour faded. I fell silent. That kinda hit me, and Charlotte has a point.

“Why don’t you start that smallest change of yours by talking to your mom.” Charlotte suggested.

“I talk to her,” I said, defending myself from what she said.

“I mean talk to her, not in barely two words.”

I took a deep breath and looked up to the clear blue sky of Los Angeles downtown.

“Well, I am glad I’m in this scapegoat of mine,” I said, closing my eyes.

“We’re glad you’re here too, Ellie,” Charlotte said as she held my hand.

~~~

“See you tomorrow.” I waved goodbye to Brian and Naomi.

It was seven at night when I finished my shift at Lotte’s YoArt.

The shop closes by nine in the evening and Charlotte leaves the shop by six at night because she lives with her sisters and she had to be home before her sister starts to tantrum.

With that, Charlotte entrusted the two elders in closing the shop every day since she didn’t want the younger ones to go home late at night.

I made my way to the nearest diner to get myself some burger and fries and ate it along the way to the grocery store.

During Friday nights, people crowded the grocery store. Weekend is coming and people are probably buying stuff for tonight’s party or some ingredients for making homemade foods for a Sunday’s picnic.

Friday nights were the only time my mom and I get to sit on our living room’s couch for a show we always watch together. And by mean watching, we just only watch. In complete deafening silence and close distance, yet it seems like we’re still far away from each other.

Tonight, I’m thinking of making a ******* delectable cookies and cream milkshake to keep myself busy from the silence between me and my mom.

I grabbed some milk, Oreos, ice, and ice cream and quickly made my way to the cashier before I got stuck in lengthy lines.

By the time I got home, mom was still not home. She usually comes home in the middle of the show, so there’s nothing new if I come home to an empty house.

I went to my room to change into my sweat shorts and an oversized shirt and made my way to our kitchen to make my milkshake.

I took the blender from our cupboard and put the milk and ice cream on the blender together with some five Oreo cookies when I heard our front door opened.

I stopped what I was doing and was about to make my way to grab the baseball bat when my mom, with her dress shirt, pinned up hair and hazel-green eyes I got from her appeared in the kitchen.

“What are you doing?” she asked me as she unpinned her hair and let her strawberry blonde hair flow at her back.

“You’re home early,” I tell her. That was barely not two words, Charlotte.

“Don’t want to be late for the show.” She chuckled as she gets a bowl from the cupboard and brought out some chips she probably bought. She placed several chips on the bowl, and threw two bags of chips in my direction.

I caught it quickly.

“Mom! We could have broken something.” I protested to her.

“Sorry.” She chuckled and walked away to the living room.

I looked at the chips she threw at me. It was a Flaming Hot Cheetos and a Sour and Cream Lays.

My favorites.

I smiled and rolled my eyes and doubled the milkshake I was making.

Smallest changes, huh?

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  1. Kyla Baxter

    Sep 9, 2021

    I love this!!! It is fabulous!! Great writing!!

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    1 Reply Sep 9, 2021
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    1. gurlcynical

      Oct 10, 2021

      OMG thank you so muchh!! <3

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      0 Replies Oct 10, 2021
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