Bubble Tea

by Jaeyon Yeo, age 13
Bubble Tea Jaeyon Yeo is an 8th grader at Somers Middle School. She loves to write and is an accomplished violinist!

“I’m going to be late again, she mentally noted, looking up at the crowded corridor. In her hurry, she almost bumped into one of the many girls oblivious to anyone besides herself. Brown curls reeking of hairspray brushed against her lips, and she made a face when the nasty poisonous smell crept up her nostrils.”

Mina heaved a huge sigh when the last bell rang. Quickly grabbing her flea-market bag, she dashed out of the semi-humid classroom, checking her worn-out watch along the way.

I’m going to be late again, she mentally noted, looking up at the crowded corridor. In her hurry, she almost bumped into one of the many girls oblivious to anyone besides herself. Brown curls reeking of hairspray brushed against her lips, and she made a face when the nasty poisonous smell crept up her nostrils.

“Excuse me,” Mina muttered halfheartedly, roughly pushing the girl aside. She didn’t have any time to lose. Her part-time job was starting in five minutes, and she still had a long walk ahead. Well, if she could get to the job anyways.  She had been at least ten minutes late to her job everyday for the past month ever since school had started, she had been warned by her plum-faced boss, whom she partly wanted to slap as hard as she could. But money was money and it was what she really needed.

The girl that she bumped into abruptly turned around, with the expression only a rich, spoiled brat from the oh-so-prestigious school could have. However, her face fell when she saw Mina, her confidence dropping at the same rate.

“Ugh, it’s her,” the girl mumbled, seemingly looking down on her because of the fact that Mina wasn’t well off like her. But, she didn’t dare to say anything else, since Mina’s reputation had always been bad. She had been labeled the ‘poor ice princess,’ as well as ‘commoner’ or ‘scholarship student’.

Either the girl had been afraid of Mina’s cold glare, or afraid of some kind of virus going over to her if she stayed in Mina’s radius for longer than five seconds. At least, it seemed so. Mina honestly didn’t care though, as she had other things to worry about besides the bad attitudes that some students of the school had towards her. It wasn’t like she had a better attitude towards them anyways.

Raising her eyebrow, she gave the girl an uninterested look before brushing past her. She certainly didn’t have any time to waste, especially not on a brat. Just as she walked past her, someone else had bumped into her from the side. Oh, how she despised these corridors. Annoyed, she glanced to the side, looking back at the boy who seemed irritated that she was the one whom he had to bump into.

Taking in a deep breath, she narrowed her eyes and dashed forward, ignoring the incredulous expressions of the spoiled teens around her. Just before reaching the exit, she noticed that a large crowd had formed outside, as the squeals of fangirls vibrated the steps of the staircase she had been walking down. Stopping midway, she tried to look for a visible gap between the ocean of people. While using her somewhat eye strength, she noticed that these girls were surrounding a few guys.

Mina frowned, and the distance from the corners of her mouth to her ears seemed to be a mile away. They had been named the ‘Kings’ of the school, or whatnot, because of their wealth and looks; well, if they even had the looks anyways. To be honest, she didn’t know much about the school’s students because she had been too preoccupied by attending class, making perfect marks, and so forth, since she couldn’t afford any mistakes or bad grades being the scholarship student that she was. And outside of school, she tried to not socialize with the rich children of the school as much as she could. In fact, she didn’t have the time to, since she was busy with the numerous part time jobs she had worked in order to support her single parent family.

She admitted, Life sucks. However, she couldn’t just wallow up in a self-pity party, as that wouldn’t get herself, nor her family anywhere. It was her body that needs to get to somewhere. That is, to her part time job that she was nearly three minutes late to already.

Snapping out of her thoughts, she practically slid down the rest of the stairs, only to realize that she had to make a gap herself. Muttering some annoyed “Move” and some “Get out of my way” remarks, she pushed away all the girls from her path, as she was much stronger than the feeble-looking girl she seemed to be.

Having pure white skin, dark chocolate doe eyes with her naturally rare dark brown hair, she seemed to be a human doll walking around. However, her personality was pretty much the main reason why people despised, as well as feared her.

Arching an eyebrow, she almost sighed in relief when she saw the welcoming sight of some space on the ground, causing her to look up. However, her eyes had met a pair of cold, apathetic eyes, framed by a pale face. It was a boy.

One of the Kings, Mina scowled, Or whatever they are called in this place.

Narrowing her eyes at the boy, she walked past him swiftly. She squinted her eyes, trying to find a way out of the crowd, for she had somewhat ended at the center of it. “Wow, did you just see that?” “She looked at Joon in such a nasty way!” “How dare she?!” A few of the girls in the crowd gasped in shock. Mina didn’t hear it. Sighing, she quickened her pace, finally exiting the mob. Glancing at her watch once again, she cursed silently. Thanks to the lunatic-filled crowd, she was almost at the point of being too late for her part-time job. Nearly in a running tempo, she made a small mental note to use the backdoor next time she left the school during that time.

Mina took in a deep breath, hints of mixed emotions painted on her face. Maybe he won’t notice me…Biting her lip, she dusted her school uniform, and tip-toed into the restaurant.

“Hello, how many people-MINA KIM.”

Mina carefully looked up at her now, red faced boss, as she managed to muster a fake smile on her porcelain face.

“I’m so sorry, boss. The students in the hallway-”

“You’re fired, Mina. I’m very sorry, but I honestly cannot tolerate the tardiness you showed today.”

“But-”

“I’m very sorry. I wish you luck in the future.”

Mina stared back, dumbfounded. Gritting her teeth, she threw her small name card at the floor, swiftly walking out without turning back. Shaking her head in frustration, she glanced at the time. It’s 3:00 already, and I must find another job, before Mother finds out. I cannot allow her to get another job. You can do it, Mina. You can do it.

Puffing up her cheeks, she began to walk, each step faster than the one before. Mina entered every store in sight, only to come out with disappointment. She couldn’t give up yet. She couldn’t.

As the bright sun began to set, Mina sat down on a nearby green park bench she had discovered along her path. A tiny sweat bead rolled down the edge of her dark-circled eyes, dropping down to the center of her pink rosy cheeks. She wiped it away, her vision beginning to blur.

“I should get a drink,” Mina muttered, stumbling when she stood. Her blistered feet began to move once again, her now-worn-out shoes trudging against the concrete floor.

Eyes wandering, her mouth finally twitched in relief, after discovering a sign that read, ‘Bubble Tea?’ posted on the surface of a brick-walled building. Mina hesitated, knowing the fact that she shouldn’t waste five dollars for a drink. However, her hidden teenage-girl side appeared, and she opened the door to the store.

Mina’s mouth dropped a little bit in awe, as she looked around the shop. Decorated with cream white walls with matching teal accessories, it seemed a bit like the dream room she had wanted when she was little.

“Hello Miss, what would you like to order?”

Mina jumped in surprise, her awkward expression masking her facial features. Oh, how she hated to be startled.

“One strawberry bubble tea, please.”

The male worker in front of her nodded his head, before leaving to the kitchen.

Walking to a table, she bit her lip, before her eyes widened. An idea had popped into her head, as she rubbed her arm against her back.

“Here you are, Miss. That would be five dollars and twenty-five cents.”

Mina looked up at him, handing her money into the waiting hand.

“Um, excuse me, Mister?”

The male raised an eyebrow, as Mina took it as a sign to continue.

“By any chance, do you need any more workers here?”

He turned around and walked away from her. Mina looked at him, confused, watching his retreating figure disappear through the “Employees Only” door.

After waiting for a few minutes, her face filled with disappointment. It was impossible to find a new job that quick, right? Sighing, she took a sip from her drink, walking quietly from the countertop.

“Wait, Miss!”

An object was thrown over her right shoulder.

“I hope to see you tomorrow, miss. My name is Minho, by the way, and I hope to have a great work experience with you.”

Mina took the object off of her shoulder. It appeared to be a brown, apron-like uniform, with a blank white name card attached to the cloth. Her mouth twitched, as she began to walk. Before she reached the door, she said slowly, “Mina. My name is Mina. Thanks.” And with those final few words, she left and was taken into the arms of the cool, autumn night, a rare, radiant smile glowing brighter than the stars splattered across the black, velvet sky.

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