A quest for more than just a best friend.
Finding You
(And Me in the Process)
Coffee and Quests
It’s been a week since I’ve seen Sarah. I mean, it seems like an eternity, but it was just a week. Actually, this is the longest we’ve been apart, aside from vacations. Where is she now? I have absolutely no idea.
The only thing I have from Sarah is a letter I got. It arrived yesterday, and I opened it so fast that I got two paper cuts. I figured she was telling me where she was, or at least how I could find her. All I found was a sloppily-written task, which made no sense whatsoever. Sarah has sent me letters before, but the bummer is, she never adds a return address.
Aud, go to Ed’s coffee. Ask for Susan. Hug her, then say, “The dolphins need a double caramel latte, hold the caffeine”. Do what she says. Love you, SWC
Last night, I read and reread the letter. I knew it was from Sarah, she signed her initials, and it was obviously her handwriting. No one else I knew dotted her i’s with skulls or turned commas and apostrophes into butterflies. The dolphins need a double caramel latte? Hold the caffeine? I tried to pull this apart in my head, trying to see if it was a code of some sort. But all I got was a headache and a pair of sweaty palms, along with a twisting stomach, wondering where my best friend could be.
I decide to call Sarah, even though I’ve tried about thirty times this week, but it goes straight to voicemail. My eyes get teary as I think about the time when she recorded it. We had just finished at the DMV, and we each had a handful of hard fruit candy from the gumball machine thingies. She had me hold the phone while she spoke, and you can occasionally hear my voice in the background. I realize that the phone beeped already and I am leaving a silent message. I end the call and throw myself onto my bed. If I’m going to find Sarah, I’ll need a nap first!
I awake from my nap and realize that I only slept for an hour. I get dressed in an outfit that Sarah would approve of, a faded purple T-shirt displaying some old TV show, a pair of distressed bermuda shorts, and a pair of brown leather sandals. I go downstairs and tell my parents that I’m going to the coffee shop. They approve and I proceed to my car. I drive to Ed’s, Sarah the only thing on my mind.
I arrive at the coffee shop in late afternoon. I go the the door and the scent of coffee fills my nostrils. Even though it’s hot out, going into Ed’s makes me feel like it’s cozy Christmastime. I see that it’s not too crowded, so I step into line at the counter. I see the back of the cashier’s head, and for some reason he looks very familiar. I keep moving up the line, reciting the sentence from Sarah in my head. I finally make it up to the front. “Welcome to Ed’s Coffee, how may... Audrey, hi!” I finally realize that the cashier is none other than Joe Smalls, the best artist in our school.
“Uh, hey Joe. The dolphins need a double caramel latte, hold the caffeine?” I say, without much confidence. I have known Joe since third grade, but we haven’t seen each other very often, so it’s a little awkward talking to him.
“What?” he asks. I suddenly realize that I missed a few steps in the process.
“Um, is Susan here?”
“HOLD ON!” a sweet voice shouts in reply. I see a girl walk towards Joe. She is downright beautiful! She’s curvy and tan, with green eyes and the most gorgeous shade of red hair, pulled into a bun. She is one of those people that everyone must want to be. I look at my plain brown hair in a mirrored napkin holder, and realize that I forgot to brush it. My brown eyes and fair skin are nowhere near as pretty as Susan’s. I look up and see her staring at me. I realize I am supposed to hug her. “What’s up?” she asks. I reluctantly (And awkwardly) reach over the counter and hug her, thinking, this is for Sarah. Then I recite the phrase about the dolphins, which suddenly seems really stupid.
She smiles a huge smile and bends down. She pulls a piece of paper out of some hidden place and hands it to me. She goes over to the fountain drinks and pours Sprite into a cup, sticks a straw in it and stirs, making the soda flat, the way I like it. Joe looks from Susan, to me, back to Susan, as this goes on. She sticks the soda in front of me (It now has a lid), and I reach into my pocket to pull out some cash.
“Nope, not necessary, Audrey. It’s already paid for. Now, why don’t you take this paper and your soda over to table nine?”
I do as she instructs, a little confused as to how she knows my name, and proceed to sit at table nine. It’s a corner table (The coziest of the cozy) where Sarah and I sit when we come here. She always gets some new trendy coffee, and I usually just get a soda or some water. I slide into the booth and, for the first time, actually read the paper. It’s folded, but without opening it I can tell it’s from Sarah. For on the front it reads, in her handwriting,
Audrey’s Summer Quest.
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