I wrote this for a creative writing class I took, and while writing it, I absolutely despised it, but when it all came together, I fell in love when the story. I drew inspiration from Rachel Green from friends as well as the TV show Fleabag.

I walked to work today. I somehow could get out of bed with 20 minutes until my shift started, fed the cat, and managed to put my messy brown curls into a ponytail. I grabbed my apron, and I trekked to the job I’ve had for the last two years, serving coffee at the cafe on the corner of Elizabeth and Spring. As a 23-year-old in Manhattan, it wasn’t the dream I thought I would be living. My whole family lives in a small town in Connecticut; I couldn’t be stuck there after high school, so New York City was the best place to be. The capital of the fashion scene, it felt like the city was calling my name. I went to school at Queens College in fashion merchandising. That degree leads me straight to wandering around New York like a lost puppy applying endlessly to any job relating to fashion. I had to make money for rent, so I started working at the cafe. It wasn’t the dream, but it gave me some money for now. I had my favorite regulars that would come in and tip me well, and I was making enough to at least pay for my half of rent.

You could say I wasn’t my parent’s favorite child. My older sister Alex was the golden child, newly married to her husband Adam, and he made millions being the CEO of some finance company. She lived here in New York, but we don’t usually get along when we are together. Everything in life had come so easy to her, while I’ve had to work incredibly hard to get barely anywhere.

I got to the cafe and started my 8-hour shift for the day. The good thing about New York is that you see every kind of person. It is so fast-paced that every minute a new person walks in, gets their daily cup of joe, and then just like that, they are gone. I love to see what people are wearing. It’s all so diverse, and every person has a different taste in style. I want to be the name on their shirt tag; I want to make clothes and share them with the world. I have the broken little sewing machine I got at the local Goodwill, and I will make a skirt or a dress every once in a while. A customer will compliment my outfits on occasion, and that’s as much “high fashion” criticism I get.

I finish my shift for the day, grab my tips out of the jar, and make the walk home. As I exited the cafe, the cold February breeze hit my cheeks, and they immediately turned red from the wind. Once I finally reach my apartment building, I climb up the stairs and unlock the green wooden door. I hang up my trench coat and put my keys in the dish sitting on the kitchen counter. My roommate’s boyfriend walks out into the kitchen to have a glass of water. We have brief, meaningless interactions that happen every day.

“Hey, how was work?” He asked me while turning on the faucet, filling up the cup.

“Pretty slow day; I brought home the leftover scones if you and Veronica want any,” I say.

“Ok, thanks.”

That pretty much sums up my relationship with both him and my roommate, Veronica. I began making some mac and cheese for dinner, and while the water was boiling on the stovetop, I went over to pet the cat. Veronica and I bought Checkers when we first moved three years ago, kind of like a welcoming to a new era for both of us. That cat bonded us together. We would all sit on the shaggy rug in the living room and talk about our days while drinking a cup of tea. After she started dating her boyfriend James last year, our daily rituals came to a stop. I didn’t mind, though; I have never really needed someone around not to feel lonely.

As I head back to the kitchen to pour the macaroni noodles in the pot, somebody knocks on the door. I run over and turn the handle to reveal my older sister Alex standing next to them with tears flowing down her face.

“I know we don’t talk as much anymore, but I didn’t know where else to go,” Alex cries. I motion toward her to come in and take her to the velvet armchair James brought back for us, saying he found it in some alleyway. I wrap her in a blanket and begin the make her a cup of tea. I haven’t spoken to Alex in months, ever since the great Thanksgiving argument of 2019. It was the same old quarrels we always had with each other; usually, it started with her telling me to get a boyfriend. I yelled at her, she yelled at me, and then she went back to her perfect life, and I went back to mine, and we haven’t talked since.

“So do you wanna talk about it,” I asked Alex hesitantly as I handed her her tea.

“It’s Adam.”

Of course, it’s about Adam. I hated that man ever since the day I met him. He is stuck up, extremely rude, and the amount of hair gel that this man puts in his hair don’t even get me started.

“What did Adam do?” I say, not surprised.

“I found out he was having an affair with my maid of honor and supposedly best friend.”

“Of course he was,” I exclaimed angrily. “something was always off about him,”

“Well, I walked in on them, and I just slammed the door and drove here. I didn’t know what to do besides leave,” she said.

She explained the situation more, but all that was running through my head was the fact that my perfect sister was sobbing in my living room, begging me to help. After her sobbing for what it seemed like forever, I mustered up the courage to talk.

“Do you want some mac and cheese?” I asked.

“Tiffany! that is all you have to say about this,” she replied angrily.

“I mean, I thought you might be hungry after all tears and complaining.”

“you know what? fine, ill take some of your stupid mac and cheese.”

I make and Alex a bowl of macaroni and cheese and hand it to her.

“So, what are you going to so about Adam,” I asked

“I don’t know, Tiff, but do you mind if I crash here for a few,” she asked.

“of course you can.”

“Hey, Tiff, I missed you.”

“ I missed you too, Alex,” and the next thing I know, she is sound asleep on the alleyway armchair.

The next day I woke up to Alex in the kitchen, making herself a cup of coffee.

“Alex, why are you up so early?” I asked. “it literally five in the morning,”

“Adam will not stop calling me; my phone was ringing all night,” she said.

“Why don’t you just block him?”

“If I do that, he will just find other ways to harass me, and I just need to figure out what to do before I can fully get him out of my life.”

“Ok then, I have to head to work, but if you need anything, stop by the cafe; it’s on the corner of Spring and Elizabeth,” I told her.

“Hey, before you go do you have a change of clothes,” Alex asked.

“Yeah, just grab whatever from my closet.”

As I make myself a bowl of microwavable oatmeal, Alexs come back out in a pair of jeans, a shirt I made.

“Tiff, where did you get this shirt is so cute?” Alex asked

“I actually made it.”

“How did I not know you were this talented?”

“I’m not sure, maybe because you were too busy yelling at me about the job and lack of boyfriend,” I rebutted.

“Look, I know I may judgy sometimes, but it’s just because I am jealous of how you can go out and live your life without..” She was interrupted by a phone call from Adam, I presume.

I grabbed my coat, put my earbuds in, and headed off to work. The city was so pretty in the early mornings, less of the panic of New York. The sky was illuminating a cotton candy pink that reflected off the building’s windows. The city just felt right for me, even if it wasn’t what I expected. I entered the cafe doors, and the bell rang above my head, letting everyone know I was here.

I started my shift by making myself a warm cinnamon latte and ringing up my favorite Sunday regulars. The whole day was typical, except I had a pit in my stomach about how Alex was doing. After a shift that seemed like forever, I started the short walk home with a bagel sandwich in my hand. Alex never showed up at the cafe, so I don’t even want to know how many arguments she had to deal with about Adam.

“Hey, Alex, I brought you home a bagel sand…” I look up to see my clothes and design sketches scattered all over the floor, with Alex sitting in the center of the mess. “What the hell are you doing?”

“Ok, I know this looks a little crazy right now, but I can explain.”

“A little crazy? Alex, this is insane. What have you been doing all day besides rummaging through all my stuff?” I asked

“When I went to go get a change of clothes, I was so impressed by all the stuff you made, and then I found some of your designs and started thinking how this could turn into something.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I mean, we could start our own clothing business,”

“Ok, I know you are going through a rough patch right now, but this is too much.”

“Think about it, I could set up the website and do all the logistics, and you could make clothes to sell; people will buy from us, I know they will.”

I began to think about it. I came to New York to follow out my dreams and go into the fashion industry. I’ve been trying for so long to get into the business, and it is so difficult, I never thought about doing it myself.

“Alright, I’m in,” I said

“Oh, tiff, this is going to be so great.” she gave me the biggest hug, “let’s start brainstorming.”

******

Alex and I got to work almost immediately; she was making phone calls after phone calls while I was on the floor with fabric scraps and my designs dispersed about. We came up with the perfect name for our little business, “Bouquet Fashion,” after our last name. After I got home from work, Alex and I went straight to work on our website; we set up all the items we wanted to sell after modeling them around New York. It was crazy to see my clothes up on a website where people could actually buy them. After weeks of prepping, phone calls, and lots of iced coffee, we were open for business. For days Alex and I sat around the computer waiting to see if a sale would pop, but there was no luck. I went to work the next morning as usual and made myself a cup of coffee, trying not to overthink the website. It was a quiet day, and halfway into my shift, the bell above the door jingled.

“We got our first sale!” Alex came in yelling.

I jumped over the counter to give her the biggest hug.

“I can’t believe we actually sold something,” I said.

“I told you this would go somewhere,”

About a month goes by, and Boutique Fashions is going steady. We get a few sales every week, and I have never been closer to my sister. One day I was at work in the cafe, and Alex was sitting at the corner table. A man in a nice suit and square-shaped glasses comes up to order.

“One large cold brew to go, please,” he ordered.

“Perfect, that will be $3.75 today,” I said.

“If you don’t mind me asking, where did you get that shirt?” he asked.

“Oh, I actually made it myself. My sister and I are actually having our own business making clothes.”

“Really? I am actually in public relations at Ralph Lauren, and we have been looking for some smaller businesses to reach out to and become a branch of the company. Would you be interested?”

“That would be a dream, sir. Thank you so much!” I say as I go to shake the man’s hand.

“Perfect! Well, here is my business card. Call me when you get a chance, and we will set up a meeting.”

As the man walks out of the cafe doors, I turn to Alex in disbelief.

“Did that actually just happen, or am I in a dream,” I asked.

“This is real life Tiffany; I knew this could happen for you.”

At this moment, I knew that I was where I always wanted to be, and my dream was falling into place.

what’s on my mind