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She took another sip of her chai latte, savoring its cozy notes of ginger and cardamom. Another sip left her contemplating what kind of genius was responsible for concocting something so mild, yet so robust like chai. She imagined a clumsy grandmother making a traditional tea and knocking a canister of cinnamon over into a heavy mortar that had been passed down for generations. Maybe it was a canister of anise instead. Cloves? Whichever it was, it changed everything.

Why? Why does simplicity trigger some of the most important, most profound moments of self-reflection?

“I want to turn my life upside down, be someone new, do the unexpected, and live the things that are only talked about,” she said to her best friend, Jonah, her gaze fixated on a crack in the far wall of the café.

“I get the same urge sometimes,” Jonah said “I guess we’re so used to our safe and comfortable spaces. We, as in most people, of course.” He knew Megan meant what she said about turning her life upside down, but he also knew she wouldn’t act upon it. He wished she was braver. She lacked confidence as of late.

“But it’s not just an urge. I really want to, like in my soul. I mean, I have had all these expectations from other people pressed upon me and expectations I’ve pressed on myself…,” Megan trailed off, leaving her sentence unfinished, becoming more and more distracted by her thoughts, which were like overwhelming waves of cognition repeatedly crashing over her consciousness.

Jonah observed her detached behavior with concern. “Why would you let the expectations from other people dictate or dominate your life? Do what you want and what makes you happy. It’s your life, and you’re the one living it.”

Megan rolled her eyes and drew another sip. “I know that. I don’t let other people dictate my life. Like I said, I put these expectations on myself.” She always talked in circles when it came to the future. Of most things she was certain, but of her future, she was confused.

There was a long pause before he apologized, “I know. I’m sorry.” Jonah chose not to fight this battle. She could be so stubborn sometimes, and it just wasn’t worth it.

Megan knew he’d say something like that. He wasn’t as predictable as she was intuitive. She was stubborn; it was true. And he was right: she didn’t always practice what she preached. Megan would never admit it, but she was also scared of the unknown. It crippled her, and it was why she wasn’t moving forward with her life. She knew she should be making changes, in the smallest of ways and the biggest of ways. She should pursue her own heart and seek self-acceptance rather than living for others and seeking theirs.

Megan snapped out of her trance by the bells on the café’s doors. “What did you ask me, again?” She finally met his eyes for the first time in what felt like hours.

Jonah gave her a gentle, warm smile. “I asked you what you wanted to do today.”

“I think I’ll just go home and sleep.”

Nicole C. Prince

Nicole Prince is a North Carolina native with a deep love for writing, literature, and her four affectionate, mischievous dogs. You can find her traveling the world, or close to the dessert table.

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