Readers Gazette Short Stories

Short Story Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate by Haidji Relationship short story

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Lisa was reading a page of a book, sitting over her bed, and suddenly she was sitting on the sand of a foreign beach, as the melody started again… repetitive, entering into her dreams…and suddenly, Lisa saw herself turning, dancing, dizzy, waking up…

The iPhone alarm…the sound of waves…
After delaying the alarm four or five times, it was not easy for Lisa to inch herself out of her dreams. Standing up from the paradise usually known as “Bed in the Morning”, Lisa finally made her way to the bathroom.
There was no time for her usual make-up.
No time to chose the right dress for this day.

Waking up…late to work…looking into the mirror, Lisa thought too loudly and words came out of her mouth:
“OMG - why do we all look like angels while we are sleeping and like monsters when we wake up? I need make-up…I will be late, but I really need it.”

Lisa spent ten unnecessary minutes in front of the mirror, trying to not look like a zombie. Lisa would never look like a zombie, but waking up from our dreams into our daily lives makes us see things much more badly than they really are, and mostly this starts with our own mirror image. We try to fix what doesn’t really need to be fixed. Waste of time or not, it depends on the circumstances…anyway; she started to feel better as the mascara dried, defining her eyelashes.

Out of Paradise, into daily life, Lisa stopped at Starbucks on her way to work. Wearing high heels and a simple blue dress that made her blue eyes bluer, while the wind played with her light brown hair.

Instead of her usual Venti nonfat milk Cafe Latte with only 170 calories…Lisa decided to go for a Venti Peppermint Hot Chocolate, 460 calories, to bring her last night’s dreams back. Palms are not Cocoa Trees and Peppermint is not the Sea, but it is fresh, so…who knows? Maybe she could keep the feeling all day long.

Not that Lisa remembered what she dreamed about, it was just that Bed was, more than ever, feeling like paradise; and coffee…coffee made her mind wake up and Lisa didn’t want to wake up.
Not today.

Today should be a good day.
Today was…her Birthday.
People should not work on their Birthdays; so, no regrets about the hot chocolate. No regrets about being late. The only regret she had was about not being able to stay longer in bed.

There was no family there to call her; Lisa was an orphan.
Being an orphan with not many friends, she invested her time in her career.
Maybe all this family stuff is overrated, Lisa thought, trying not to feel sad about it, that there was never a mother or sister to call her on her Birthday. After work she could just hang around the city and read a book. Buy a cake for herself and watch something on the TV. Maybe a present? She had passed a shop on another day with Anita, a colleague from work, and saw a wonderful Red Purse.

Yes, Lisa was this kind of person who, as sad as it is, buys Birthday presents for themselves, because otherwise no one else would do it, and that would be really sad.
It was not selfishness; it was more a kind of self-recognition, of her own value. Or, a way not to fall into sadness and depression, thinking about family stuff.

Sometimes…sometimes it was an excuse to buy what she wanted, without feeling guilty about it, in case of expensive things. Not that she needed an excuse, but, as an orphan, she needed to give more of an explanation to herself about why she did things. Life made her become her own parents and she was hard on herself.

Yes, it was sad. But, maybe one day there would be someone to buy her a Birthday cake or a Birthday present.

Lisa entered the laboratory, more distracted than usual, and almost dropped her hot chocolate over her colleague Anita.
Working together for over a year, Lisa and her small team had become more than just colleagues; they were moved by the same passion and ideals.
Lisa, Anita, Greg, Leon and Peter; they were all the prototype of future Nobel prize-winning scientists. The personification of ideals, Knights in a modern world.
They had no idea about it, but they had the passion and will that would carry them through their lives and turn them from prototypes, into final products of their own dreams.

“Hi Lisa, you seem distracted today,” said Anita.
“Hi Anita, no, I’m fine, let’s start work.”

Sadness crossed her face: no one remembered her Birthday.
Maybe it was her own fault, she had not told them about it.

Lisa was a biomedical Engineer with a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering.
Lisa’s Team was trying to develop new food and fiber products and other products that efficiently use bio-resources in an environmentally friendly manner. They had not achieved it yet, but each day they felt a step closer to it. It was like the search for the Holy Grail.
Her Team was also trying to develop the right labels, for food.
Every day, misconceptions about ‘expiration dates’ caused the waste of over 30% of all processed food in the world.
There is a lot of confusion concerning the terms “use by”, “best by” and “sell by” on food labels; moreover, there is also “best before”, which is what persons usually misread as would it be “don’t eat after”.

The “use by” date is meant as the last date the product should be used; “best by” indicates the date by which a product should be consumed for ideal quality; and the “sell by” date is determined by manufacturers to help retailers know when to rotate products off of the shelves.
But everything becomes more complicated if the food can be frozen.
Then, more information is added to the label.

Date labels first appeared on food packages approximately one hundred years ago. As people became further removed from food production and the source of their food, their ability to determine product freshness decreased. People began purchasing their food from stores and were no longer privy to its history in the food system. Consumers had to rely on food manufacturers to supply them with food. To Trust.
Our life is based on trust: we need to trust the manufacturers, the factories, the supermarket, and the milk delivery service.
Sometimes, there is no choice in life, so we need to learn to trust the world around us in order to be able to survive. There is no time to work, take care of yourself and your family, and plant your own vegetables in your garden…if you even have a garden.
Like usual, there was not much time for lunch and after his too short break Greg, with his charming smile, asked Lisa to stay some minutes longer at the end of the day, as there was too much work to do.

After a long workday, Lisa was already thinking about going and looking for a cake, and she was asking herself if she should invite her colleagues for a drink, especially Greg and Anita.
As Lisa was thinking about whether to ask them, Greg started to launch into one of his usual dissertations about food and food labels:
“Every piece of bread you buy is a sign of trust.
Every sip you drink means that you trust someone, mostly a stranger.
And you trust the labels on your food. How can we make it simple and more understandable? How can we avoid the waste of over 30% of the food in the world? I don’t know it yet. But I am sure that we will find the answer.
I am sure that we will find all answers we are looking for.
I wish that it could be simple, like… ‘Anita, can you bring it’?
I wish that it could be as simple as that.”
And Anita went out of the room, and came back with a cake, on which was written:
“Best by today” –
And a present, the Red Purse—unwrapped: they were all a distracted sort of people, so no one had remembered to think about wrapping paper.

Lisa had wanted to wear a new dress for her Birthday. She woke up thinking that she didn’t even want to go to work; but as she arrived, her small team composed of Anita, Leon, Greg and Peter were all there for her, unexpectedly.
Lisa smiled. Greg hugged her. She did not like hugs, but she liked this first one. A first one of many...followed by kisses.
Family is not overrated. Sometimes, you just need to find out who your real family is, who shares your dreams and reads your wishes. Who makes you smile for a while. And Trust.
Trust is a basic element to survive in the world, and one of the fundamental ways to happiness.

This short story is included in Haidji's book Harables, scroll down to her info to find the book.
To see more of Haidji, click the link to her website or scroll down to the bottom of the page to view her member details Visit Haidji Blogspot

Images used for the story are Hot Chocolate Drink at

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Short Story written by Haidji

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Lisa was reading a page of a book, sitting over her bed, and suddenly she was sitting on the sand of a foreign beach, as the melody started again… repetitive, entering into her dreams…and suddenly, Lisa saw herself...

Harables: Short Stories 1 by Haidji

Harables (Short Stories 1) brings together eighteen of Haidji’s short stories. Each story is prefaced with a hint of what’s inside, for example: “To be shaped for life is never easy…”. “Life seemed to be just a letter, or a few words, in the metaphor of the Earth’s biography.” “All lines are drawings!”… “For the Earth to survive, for the human race to survive, we need to overcome our own survivor instinct.” Every reader will have their own favourites among...

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