“That will be $4.67, please,” I said cheerily. The customer smiled back and handed me the money, “Keep the change.”
She walked to the other counter, waiting for her coffee, while I began to make her drink. Two pumps of caramel and one scoop of cocoa powder. I felt someone watching me and looked back to see the girl starring at me. Her eyes were gone, and in their place were two black holes. They seemed endless, like an infinite void of nothing. The coffee mug I was holding fell to the ground, shattering everywhere. The contents spilled all over the floor and my shoes.I grabbed the wooden counter behind me to steady myself before I fell over. Was this real or was I imagining things?
Her mouth slowly fell open, and with it came her eyeballs rolling out. They seemed to fall in slow motion and they hit the ground one by one with a sickening splat. My stomach flipped and I put a hand over my mouth, swallowing the bile that rose in my throat. I blinked a few times and she was back to normal. My face began to turn red as I realized how crazy that must have looked to her.
“S-sorry about that ma’am, just a little clumsy today,” I stuttered.
“We all have those days, no worries,” she smiled. I took a long look at her. She had hazel eyes. Yes, eyes. Here eyes are there. I don’t know what’g gotten into me today. I grab a rag and clean up the sticky caramel and cocoa mix. I hurry and make her drink as fast as possible and apologize once again for the wait. She reassures me once more before leaving the coffee shop.
The coffee shop I work at is a little local place called “Busy Bee Coffee”. It’s sandwiched between a bookstore and a thrift store, so we get lots of interesting customers. A lot of people come here to read, or to grab a quick coffee after a day of shopping. It was hard for me to find a job because of my mental problems, so I’m glad the owner, Leo, gave me a chance.
Leo is a tall man with dark hair that matches his dark skin. Though he seems intimidating because of his size, he’s actually one of the sweetest and most genuine people I’ve ever met. He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. He's one of those people that would bring the spider outside instead of killing it.
“Are you okay?” Leo asked me. I nodded and tried my best at a reassuring smile, but he didn’t seem very convinced. I asked if I could go take my break and went to my car across the street.
What was that about? I haven’t had a hallucination that bad in months. Did I need to up the dosage on my medication? My medication... shit. I forgot to take it this morning. How could I be so forgetful? Panic started to rise in me as the thoughts start coming back in rough waves, hitting the shore of my mind over and over.
I lock the car door and turn around to check the backseat. No one is here, and no one is coming. I settle back in the leather seat and take a deep breath. I need to go home, good thing my shift ends in two hours. Maybe Leo would let me go home a little early after my incident.
I ended up being right, Leo let me leave an hour early. He claimed that it was slow anyway so I wasn’t needed at the shop if I wasn’t feeling my best. I clocked out and headed home, excited to surprise my wife by coming home early.
I arrive home and when I enter the house, the smell of freshly baked cookies meets me in the air. I take off my shoes and coat, putting them in their proper places and head for the kitchen. The main floor of our house is like a never ending loop. The entryway connects with the kitchen, and from there on each room connects meeting back at the entry way.
Rosie was humming softly to herself as she put cookie dough on a baking sheet. Fresh cookies were resting on a cooling rack next to the oven. You could tell they just got done because the chocolate chips were still melted. The counters in the kitchen were littered with baking ingredients and supplies.
“Hey Petal,” I say while coming to kiss my wife. Petal was a nickname I gave to her when we started dating 9 years ago. Rosie claims that she hates the nickname, though a smile always finds its way to her lips when I call her that.
“Oh hey Eli, you’re home early?” Rosie asks, turning around to face me. My heart fluttered in my chest at the sight of her. Though we’ve been dating for many years, her beauty never ceases to amaze me. She had dazzling gray eyes, and her pale heart shaped face was framed by black waves. When she smiled, a single dimple appeared on her left cheek.
I brush a dark curl off of her face, “Leo let me go home early since I wasn’t feeling the best.”
Before Rosie can answer, I cup her face and bring her lips to mine. I don’t want Rosie to start worrying and asking questions. I’ve been doing good for so long, I didn’t want this one mess up to get her worked up. I pick her up and gently set her on the counter, making sure to move the baking stuff out of the way.
“Eli,” she gasped as I deepened our kiss. Her arms snaked their way around my back, one of her hands found their way to my hair and she pulled at it playfully.
I pull away from her, and give her an Eskimo kiss, something we’ve done for years.
“So, whatcha baking?” I ask. Her eyes light up and she sticks her finger in the bowl of cookie dough.
“Though these looks like just ordinary chocolate chip cookies, they are not! You’re going to love how these taste,” Rosie opens her mouth and I follow her lead, eager to taste her new creation. My wife adored baking, it was one of her many hobbies.
Before her finger meets my mouth, panic seizes me. The waves start hitting the shore harder than before, eroding at the beach of my mind. What if she poisoned the dough? No, Rosie would never do that to me.
My mouth clamps shut and Rosie raises an eyebrow at me.
“Fine, more for me then,” she licks the dough off of her finger and hums to herself with pleasure.
I help Rosie down from the counter, trying not to look suspicious as I glance around for something she could use to poison me. Do you really think she would leave it out if she was actually trying to poison you? No, she’s a lot smarter than that.
“Uhm, how about I try the cookies tomorrow? I-I’m really tired so I’m going to head to bed, okay?” I stammer. I try to smile to reassure her.
Rosie doesn’t look convinced but she lets me go to bed anyway, hoping that some sleep will make me feel better.
I kiss my wife goodnight and head to the bedroom. I need to get it together before Rosie starts to catch onto why I’m acting weird. I’ll just take my medicine tomorrow and everything will go back to normal. That’s what she wants though, we can help you if you don’t take your medicine. You can?
Yes, the voices can help me. They keep me safe and sound. I don’t know why everyone tries to get them to go away. Every time they come back, it’s like greeting my old friends. Why would I kick them out again?