[Short Stories] – The Chocolate Cake

“Should I get this chocolate cake or the vanilla cake? Argh, making decisions is so hard! Why not just get both? Oh right, I only have enough money for one slice. Bummer.” thought Rachel.

Rachel was at the bakery getting a slice of cake for herself to celebrate her own birthday. She was far from home, having just graduated from university and landed a job teaching at a local kindergarten. Since, she was just starting out, her salary was still meager. She was barely making ends meet with her salary. However, since it was a special day, she decided to splurge and treat herself to a slice of cake.

“Oh whatever, I’ll just get the chocolate cake. I like chocolate better anyways. But the vanilla one looks so good though… Should I get the vanilla cake instead…?  NO! No more second guessing myself! Chocolate cake it is!” decided Rachel.

And so, Rachel bought her cake and made her way home. 

“Next train arrives in 1 minute. Please stand behind the yellow line.” a robotic female’s voice rang throughout the train station.

“Thank goodness, I’m right on time. Otherwise I’ll have to wait another 10 minutes for the next train.”

Rachel’s happiness was short lived as the train doors opened to reveal a very packed train full of people. With a heavy sigh, Rachel could only watch as the train closed its doors and went on its way.

Like the rest of the people in that station, Rachel whipped out her phone and began scrolling through her social media. 10 minutes quickly went by and the next train came rushing into the station.

“Train doors opening, mind your step.” the same robotic female voice rang throughout the station.

This time, the train was still partially empty so and glee-filled Rachel walked, almost skipping into the train.

“Something feels amiss… But what is it?” She shrugged the feeling off.

Rachel took out her phone once more and began scrolling through her Instagram when her phone rang.

“Hey Rachel! Happy Birthday! Bet you weren’t expecting my call!”

“Hey Chloe! Thanks so much! Haven’t heard from you for quite some time, how’s job hunting going?”

“Oh, it’s good, it’s good. I just got a job at the bakery right down the road from my house. Aren’t I lucky? Now I don’t have to worry about transport since it’s just right down the road!”

“Good for you! Hey, why don’t we meet up sometime? Whenever both of us are free?”

“Sounds good! Alright, I have to go now. Catch up with you again sometime! Bye!”

“Alright. Goodbye!”

Upon ending the call, the train came to a screeching halt. Lights flickered and people began panicking. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the train had stopped in a tunnel. It was then that Rachel realized what was amiss.

“What’s happening? Why did we stop? I just want to go home and enjoy my cake! Hold on, my cake…? My hand is empty… Where is it?! Oh no! I left it at the station! I can’t believe I forgot to take it!” thought Rachel with a heavy dread.

The rest of the people on the train grew restless. Most of them started to make their way to the front of the train, trying to seek out the conductor with the intent of finding out why they had stopped. 

Then without warning, the conductor’s voice blasted through the train speakers. “Please remain calm, we are facing a technical difficulty. We are terribly sorry for the inconvenience.”

Exasperated sighs could be heard throughout the train. Most went back to their phones, few kept pacing around, others went back to doing whatever they were doing before then.

After what felt like eternity, the conductor finally announced that they had resolved the issue and that the train would be on its way again very soon.

Rachel was still berating herself for forgetting to take the cake as buying it had eaten into whatever left of her salary. Very soon, the name of the station that she was supposed to disembark was announced through the speakers, snapping Rachel out of her thoughts. 

As she got down from the train the thought of going back to get her cake crossed her mind briefly. However, she quickly dismissed the idea as being too hopeful cos chances are that when she gets there her cake won’t even be there. Furthermore, it was already late and she hadn’t eaten dinner yet.

After a long walk, Rachel reached home. The day had been a bad day for her. First she forgot her cake then the train broke down causing her to arrive home late. And now she had nothing to eat for dinner. Her pantry was still empty as she had no time to go grocery shopping yet.

Rachel was all ready to forgo dinner and just go to sleep when there was a knock on her door. When she opened her door, a surprise awaited her.

“Surprise! We wanted to spend your birthday with you! Sorry we were so late, our flight was delayed.” said Rachel’s parents.

“Mom! Dad! I can’t believe you’re here!” a surprised Rachel responded.

“How about we go grab a bite? Our treat! We want to celebrate your birthday!” said Rachel’s parents.

And so, they went out to eat, Rachel couldn’t stop smiling as seeing her parents after the day she had was just the thing she needed.

So, what happened to the forgotten cake? It was found by the cleaner after the station was closed for the night. That cleaner was going through a bit of a tough time and was working multiple jobs just to keep his daughter in school. That day just so happened to be his daughter’s birthday as well, so finding that cake was a stroke of luck.

This ends the tale of Rachel’s day which started out badly but ended happily. And her mistake of forgetting her cake made someone else’s day. Fate works in mysterious ways, don’t you agree?

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(Valid till 30 June 2021)

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