a Women Writers' Showcase
by Donna Alice Patton

"I’m starving! I’ve been on this diet for hours!"

Anna looked at the clock. Ten minutes! Only ten minutes and I’m ready to eat sauteed chair legs? I’ll never make it!

Remembering the $89.99 she’d just paid for a dress roughly ten pounds too small, Anna groaned, "I’ve got to stay on this diet."

Nibbling a carrot stick for strength, she gave herself a pep talk. "No matter how starved, I think I am, I can survive without Twinkies, Fritos, lasagna or chocolate meringue pie. Willpower. That’s all I need. With willpower, I’m unconquerable."

The trouble was, after she’d congratulated herself on her determination, stamina, ironclad willpower, Anna felt a letdown. Determination, she decided, was bland without someone to notice you being determined. And what was ironclad willpower if there was no admiring person around to say, "You must have a lot of willpower?" Anna decided she needed motivation, someone to see she was serious about losing those ten pounds. Maybe, just to prove she could pass up the most luscious foods, it might be a good idea to have her morning coffee down at the mall. The Forum Cafeteria would be her testing ground.

Anna walked slowly past crispy bacon, savory sausage, scrambled eggs light and fluffy as yellow clouds and the powdered doughnuts trying not to drool. Ambrosia. Pure ambrosia.

"Just coffee?" The cashier asked.

"I’m on a diet."

Obligingly the cashier said, "You must have a lot of willpower."

Triumphant, Anna sat down with her cup of black, sugarless coffee. She watched smugly as other people sat down around her, their mouths devouring cuisine fit for Food Network. It really wasn’t fair, she thought, how some people could eat anything they pleased without gaining an ounce. If she even thought about food, the scale went PING!

She was glancing down at her dark blue dress, hoping it made her look slimmer, when HE sat down at the table next to hers.

He was an ordinary man except for five reasons. One was his skinniness. No FAIR! Anna wanted to scream. The other four reasons were lying on the paper plate he placed on the table . . . four perfect powdered doughnuts.

Anna stared at the delectable rounds, their powdery sugar sifting around the edges of the paper plate. Mouth watering, she imagined sinking her teeth into the moist golden cake and soft, silky sugar.

Enviously, she watched the man bite into the first doughnut. He bit, chewing slowly, making precise half moons around the edges. Each time he swallowed, Anna’s empty stomach ached at the torture.

Coveting his doughnuts, Anna’s eyes glared while he leisurely licked each finger to get every speck of sugar. He took a few, cautious sips of coffee to wash the doughnut down.

"Go on," Anna plead silently, "eat another one."

The man darted a look in her direction then picked up a second doughnut. Sugar snowed down the front of his dark suit. He flicked it away. Having warmed up with the first doughnut, he ate the second in three gulps before Anna could enjoy it.

"Well!" She exclaimed earning a look in her direction.

Again he took a few sips of coffee, decided it was cool enough and swallowed the rest. Anna waited in foot tapping impatience for him to pick up another doughnut. Instead, he stood up and walked away.

"Wasteful," Anna mumbled to herself, eyes locked on those two forgotten doughnuts. "People in the world are starving every day and he has the gall to waste two perfectly good doughnuts! Shameful! Just shameful!"

The more she thought about the waste, the angrier she became. How dare he leave those two doughnuts to be thrown in the garbage? It was criminal! Just criminal. The more she argued with herself, the more she thought about how it was just as much a crime if she left those two doughnuts to be thrown away. He hadn’t touched them or even eaten off them. Wouldn’t she be justified in breaking her diet, just this once? Weren’t higher principals at stake here? It would be a sacrifice, especially since she was so anxious to lose those ten pounds, but somebody had to stand up for truth and justice.

Anna glanced around to make sure no one saw her switching tables. In two seconds, she was sitting behind those powdered doughnuts.

Without stopping to think, Anna bit hungrily into first one and then the other doughnut. She ate as if powdered doughnuts would be declared illegal in thirty seconds. After she’d gobbled them both, she looked in shame at the white snow of powdered sugar coating the front of her dark blue dress.

Why did I eat those doughnuts? I’m so ashamed. What if someone saw me making a spectacle of myself?

Almost afraid to look up, Anna did anyway . . . just in time to see the man who’d bought the doughnuts coming back with a second cup of coffee.

I'm a freelance writer, taking care of children most of my time!  I'm active as a homeschool mentor and write for a homeschooling website.
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