Hildie S. Block

1. The first donut is tempting. Sweet. Satisfying. Exciting. A treat. A treat that you’ve waiting very long for. Donut is naughty. You really shouldn’t. I mean. It’s just one. What are you doing? You don’t need that. You don’t need another. You know what he would have said.  

2. Second donut and you think back to the time he brought the dozen donuts over that weekend. The time it snowed, even though it wasn’t supposed to, and you sat in front of the fire and binge watched and you ate those donuts without a care, but also drank deliciously black coffee. The coffee wasn’t sweet and combination was perfect. You thought your relationship was like that. You were wrong. Apparently.

3. Why do you even have a half dozen? Don’t say it’s because they were cheaper that way. You know what’s cheaper? Not eating any donuts. Are you really eating number 3? Press your teeth to it. Lick it. Lick it so slowly, you wonder if anyone will see and get uncomfortable. If they get uncomfortable, that’s their problem. You are just. Eating. A. Donut.

4. So you are going to buy new clothes next, I guess? Shopping therapy? Well, you’d have more to spend if you hadn’t bought the donuts, but then if you hadn’t bought the donuts you wouldn’t need a new swimsuit. Do you even need a new swimsuit? Those vacation plans are cancelled. You are cancelled. Are you going somewhere? With someone? You know the answer to that question.

5. A fifth donut. Well, that’s a thing. You going to get a sugar rush. You know that? You are going to make yourself sick. You can feel the migraine starting, can’t you? Why is plain also glazed? Glazed doesn’t mean plain. Just like vanilla, harvested from 35 feet in the air, isn’t nothing, isn’t plain. Glaze is shiny. Sweet. Beautiful.

6. Consider that sixth donut. Appreciate that sixth donut. Know what it would taste like, now that your tongue is burnt from sweetness. Coated with sugar like wax paper. Smell it. It doesn’t even smell nice. The warm smell of the donut shop started out smelling yeasty and warm and like a hearth, now smells rotten and fungal. Perspective. You wrap the donut in a napkin and stand up. You walk out and hand it to the busker playing a ballad on the street. You give it away. And then you walk towards the sunrise.

A Cabrera's poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in The New Guard, Brain,Child Magazine, Colere, Acentos Review, The Berkeley Fiction Review, Best Travelers' Tales 2021 Anthology, Mer, Deronda, and other journals. Her short fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Award and adapted for stage by the Bay Area Word for Word Theater Company. She writes, teaches, dances and ride bikes in San Francisco, but not always in that order.

Hildie S. Block is a night owl, a writer, a teacher, and a little obsessed with the weather. Her day doesn't start until after one cup of coffee with a little NPR. She lives in Virginia with her family and her axolotl named Xipe! Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Salon, Cortland Review, Gargoyle, (and about 50 other places) and won the 2022 Washington Writer's Publishing House Holiday contest. When not writing, she's teaching, previously at George Washington and American Universities and currently leading workshops at the Writer's Center www.writer.org and on her own www.hildieblockworkshop.com

This story is inspired by the photo "Secrets" by Lauren Hare, below. It is at the National Portrait Gallery and was an honorable mention in the Outwin photo contest.