Penelope arrived that morning at her favorite coffee shop. The waiter was practically her friend since every morning, like a sacred ritual, she would come in, sit on his special stool at the end of the aisle and order a double espresso with chocolate syrup.
It was easy to remember this order and different from all the other customers' tastes, so the girl would simply say: "the usual " and the waiter would bring her order.
That day the waiter came over and greeted with a warm "Good morning". Penelope smiled and said the usual phrase: "the usual". The waiter looked at her strangely and told her that he thought it was odd that she ordered the usual if it was the first time he had seen her in the place.
Penelope burst out laughing and asked him to stop joking as she was late for her class at the university, she was a literature teacher at a very prestigious institute.
The waiter told her that she was welcome whenever she wanted but to please tell him what her order was? Penelope got a little upset and told him: she wanted a double espresso with chocolate syrup. The waiter apologized and told her that they didn't have chocolate syrup in that coffee shop.
Annoyed and wanting coffee, Penelope left for her class. When she got to the classroom there was a psychology professor teaching his subject. She asked for an explanation of where her literature students were and the professor sent for security. It seemed that no one remembered Penelope.
She went home confused and with that headache you get when you don't put caffeine in your body.
She opened the door to her apartment and 2 children were playing in the living room. Stupefied and scared she took 2 steps back and bumped into her best friend who planted a kiss on Penelope's lips.
"We were waiting for you honey. The children and I prepared the snack for you. Come to the terrace."
Penelope walked a little way and the kids were fluffing the pillows on her favorite lounge chair and on a little table was her precious double espresso with chocolate syrup and cookies.
Her eyes filled with tears. She sat down to enjoy her snack and for an instant forgot her perfect job at school, forgot her favorite coffee shop, forgot her career success and the book she was writing that consumed all her time.
She felt full and happy. She finished her coffee and was so tired from her turbulent day, she fell asleep. She felt warm kisses from the children and their voices whispering "goodnight mom". She drifted off into dreamland.
The next morning she was awakened by daylight filtering through her window. She was in her bed. She got up and started calling for the children with no answer.
She looked all over the house and there was nothing to indicate that 2 children were living in that luxurious apartment. There was even no sign of her best friend.
Penelope brought her hand to her lips and remembered that kiss. She really liked the idea of marrying her best friend and building a family. She hadn't thought about it before, but after all they had been friends since they were kids and had a great time together.
Penelope's phone alarm rang and it was a reminder of her high school class. She hurried out so as not to be late and as she was running around the corner to the cafeteria, the barista at the door yelled, "Professor don't forget your double espresso with chocolate syrup."
She stopped and went through to get her order. Everything seemed normal. She arrived at her classroom and all her students were waiting attentively for her. Penelope sat down and as she sipped her coffee she felt nostalgic for the family in her other reality. She wanted to return to that world where she felt loved and happy, but she would miss her classroom and her work.
She tried to remember what she had done to get to that point. And that's when what she did 2 days ago came to her mind. She finished her class at about 6 pm and felt like having coffee, so she went to find her best friend Dave, he works in the high school lab and was doing some experiments with quantum physics.
Penelope thought, in a desperate attempt to merge her world of perfect work success with the world of her perfect family, to go back to the lab and turn on the machine Dave was working on.
After her class, right at 6 pm, she went down to the lab where Dave was and was ready to turn on the machine. This time she carried a cup of double espresso with chocolate syrup in her hand.
The photos were taken with my ZTE Blade A3 2020 phone.
App: Canva / Giphy. The translation was done with deepl.com. Post of my authorship.
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