Sweets had always been Amy's weakness. Perhaps, in part, it explained why she opened a sweet shop at the corner of Maple and Vine Street in her hometown. Happily, Amy would make her addictive and delicious, chocolate candies, chocolate cookies, chocolate cupcakes, chocolate cakes, and her famous German chocolate cake.
If there was a birthday party, baby shower, welcoming gift, anniversary celebration, holiday party, or graduation celebration, the sweet shop's box of delectable treats was close by; and according to some, it was a must- have. Without the sweet shops' yummy goodies, it wasn't considered a celebration in the minds of the town's people.
Fall was on the horizon. Unforeseen and unexpected, the winds of change were coming.
When the Walker family moved into town with their six children, their new neighbor, Miss White, was the first person to introduce herself and welcomed them to town. Of course, she didn't go empty-handed. The loquacious and neighborly Miss White presented the family with a box of Amy's sweet shop's unforgettable chocolate, chocolate chip cookies. Mrs. Walker thanked Miss White for the cookies. However, she didn't refuse the gift nor did she mention that her family wasn't able to indulge in sugar and gluten treats and desserts.
Naturally, Miss White furnished her with all the gossip about everything under the sun keeping Mrs. Walker on her porch for at least thirty minutes. If it hadn't been for one of Mrs. Walker's youngest calling out for her help, she would have been listening to her neighbor for hours. Mrs. Walker declared, "Again, Thank you, Miss White! Please excuse me, I really must go!"
The youngest, Wendell, wasn't feeling well. Mrs. Walker gave him some plain unsweetened almond milk and gluten-free crackers, sending him to bed. Before heading to bed, Wendell spotted the box of cookies. "You know you can't eat the cookies. I promise I'll make a special treat for you later." she reminded him. "Can I watch television in your bedroom?" asked Wendell. "Alright, keep the volume down," she responded with a smile.
You see, over a decade earlier, Mrs. Walker's family had been diagnosed with celiac disease. In addition, the family had a history of diabetes and several members had type 2 diabetes. After the diagnosis of celiac disease, Mrs. Walker, who, at that time, was studying to become a chef, changed her purpose, studies, and focus to become a pastry chef creating gluten-free and sugar-free desserts and pastries.
Now, what was she going to do with the box of chocolate, chocolate chip cookies? Who could she give the treats to, she silently wondered? With this in mind, Mrs. Walker's plans to go to the bank that afternoon would kill two birds with one stone, she thought. While handling her banking accounts and inquiring about a business loan, Mrs. Walker was able to solve her regifting dilemma by dropping off the cookies for the bank's employees.
Granted, there were too many things at present to do on her to-do list. Self-talking and reminding herself to prioritize tasks, there were short and long- range plans and goals. The short-range plan, once they were settled in town, was to open up a pastry shop for people on special gluten-free and sugar-free diets similar to their own. In fact, the whole family was on board and believed in their dream to open a pastry shop where everyone could help and take a part in.
Of course, Miss White wasn't aware of the plan; and Mrs. Walker hadn't shared the information with the talkative next-door neighbor that morning because she could not get a word in edgewise.
Days later, at the sweet shop, Amy heard a rumor that a new pastry shop was about to open in town. It wasn't Miss White, who by word of mouth reported the town's latest gossip, but a loan officer at Amy's bank casually informed her that she was about to have some competition giving no other details.
The following week, Amy received a box wrapped in a brown paper without a return address which was delivered to her sweet shop. Needless to say, she wasn't expecting a package. "Curiosity killed the cat, isn't that what they say?" she whispered the question to herself. "Oh well," sighed Amy. Besides, she only had twenty minutes before the sweet shop was to open. Carefully, Amy tore the brown paper off and opened the box.
Inside, she found a book. Instantly, Amy recognized her book, The Four Agreements. The last time she saw the book was when she loaned it to her college friend who never returned the book. Now, the book was in her hands. Remembering, a mutual friend told Amy that her friend graduated from college in May the year before they did. According to what she was told, her friend's parents gave her a trip to Spain as a graduation present which departed in July of that year and which included plans to watch the raging bulls run through the streets of Pamplona, Spain. Glancing at the wall clock, Amy didn't notice the note inside the box. Besides, it was now time to open the shop for the day.
Mrs. Walker went over her to-do list: go to the bank and open up accounts, inquire about a small business loan and drop off the chocolate, chocolate chip cookies, register four of her children in school, drop off a package at the post office, plus shop for and make dinner.
On her way to the bank and while stopped at a stoplight, Mrs. Walker decided to come up with a gluten-free recipe for a pear cake especially since she had three pear trees in her new backyard. Lost in thought! "Beep, beep!" sounded the car behind her. The light was green and off she went to the bank. At the bank, she added to her to-do list a note to create a sugar and gluten-free recipe for an Italian pear cake.
At the end of the day, Amy went back to the box and book in her office at the sweet shop. This time, she spotted the folded note. It read, Amy, you don't know how many times I thought about you and about sending your book back to you. A few weeks ago, I was online and googled your name. The next thing you know, I'm reading a story regarding your sweet shop. The photos of your sweet shop with the marigolds in bloom brought back old memories of your grandparent's farm. With the marigolds growing close to their home and a pond behind the old barn, the pond would freeze solid every winter. Lovely pictures and memories!
Naturally, the article included your sweet shop's address; and if you are reading this note, you have your book back after only eight years. I'll be in town for the Holiday and would love to see you. Can't wait to try your famous German chocolate cake that I read about. Please forgive me for taking so long to return your book. Love Always, Your college friend.
After all the forms and paperwork, Mrs. Walker received a small business loan from her bank. With the money, she was ready to set up shop in a former small restaurant and turn it into her dream pastry shop. As a result, her family was extremely excited that their dream was about to come to fruition.
Surprisingly, Amy was having difficulty lifting her left arm, and she was experiencing fatigue and weight gain. Her doctor's diagnosis was candida and advised her to cut back on sugar or eliminate sugar altogether. In addition, her doctor wrote a prescription for medication to be taken three times a day. Before this, Amy wasn't able to keep the sweet shop running full time. However! After the diagnosis, she hired two part-time employees; and things were beginning to improve with her health and the shop.
Then, one night, fire engines' lights flashed and the siren blared on Maple Street. The sweet shop was on fire. The firemen worked tirelessly but the shop couldn't be saved.
At 5:30 a.m., Miss White heard about the fire on her bedroom radio. The first person she told was Mrs. Walker who was leaving her house to go to her pastry shop early that morning since the shop was opening that weekend. Mrs. Walker asked Miss White if she knew where Amy the owner lived. "Yes, her house is on Wilson Street, the first house on the left as you turn right on to Wilson," informed Miss White. Mrs. Walker called out, "Thank you!" as she drove off towards the pastry shop.
After working at the pastry shop for hours, Mrs. Walker drove to Amy's house on Wilson Street. She introduced herself and expressed her condolences on the loss of her sweet shop. Amy burst into tears. Mrs. Walker asked if she could give her a hug. Amy cried out a meek, "Yes!" While Amy was locked in a bear hug, Mrs. Walker uttered, "What do you think about becoming partners at the pastry shop that's opening this weekend?"
At first, Amy was speechless. She couldn't believe what she heard. Stepping back from the hug, Amy asked, "You want to partner with me?" Mrs. Walker quickly answered, "Yes! You have a reputation in this town and I'm a pastry chef that's new in this town. I think together it would be a win-win combination. What do you say?" Amy shouted,
"Yes! Yes! We will let them eat cake!"
About the Creator
Barbara J Iversen, also known as Babs Iverson, lives in Texas and loves her grandkids to the moon and back. After writing one story, she found that writing has many benefits especially during a pandemic and a Texas-size Arctic Blast.
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Original narrative & well developed characters
Easy to read and follow
Well-structured & engaging content
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions
Compelling and original writing
Creative use of language & vocab
Expert insights and opinions
Arguments were carefully researched and presented
Niche topic & fresh perspectives
On-point and relevant
Writing reflected the title & theme