Hello budding writers!
Here is the first part of my thirty-sixth short story. It is longer than expected and as I am quite busy this week, I decided to divide it into several parts. I’m still working on the rest of the story, enjoy reading!
Make a wish…
My name is Rhéa and I am about to take an important step in my life. I will be twenty-five years old in a month and this perspective does not make me feel glad at all. At twenty-five, you start to take stock of your life, you are supposed to be an adult and to have done at least twenty-five extraordinary things in your life! My best friend Kyla advised me to write the twenty-five things I want to accomplish before the fateful date because it is important to have a taste for challenge and to push my limits. In deference to my twenty-four year old self, I finally wrote my famous list but I stopped at twelve wishes. Too much ambition kills ambition. If I manage to fulfill them, this will already be a great victory!
1. Climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower. In twenty-four years of existence, I have never been inside the Eiffel Tower, which is a shame for a Parisian!
2. Kissing an American. It sounds cliché but I have always dreamed of doing that. My only Anglophone experience was in sixth grade with Aurelio when we were playing Romeo and Juliet in English class. The students had insisted that we kiss but that does not count. It was for the show, Aurelio was not even American and his accent was sharp as a knife!
3. Being photographed like a model. I have always been the one who admired the pictures of others but I have never been the one who was admired for the simple reason that I never dare to pose! I would love to be under the spotlight at least once in my life…
4. Going to Montmartre and ask an artist to make my portrait! I accidentally tore the magnificent portrait that my grandparents ordered when I was three years old and I have sworn to give them another portrait of myself when I will find time, patience and money!
5. Learning to rollerblade! After a serious fall when I was ten, I have never dared to rollerblade again! I think it is time to face my fears…
6. Succeed in making macaroons! I love macaroons but this is a very expensive pleasure. Honestly, I am tired of giving my money to Ladurée. Plus, I received a kit to make macaroons for Christmas, this gift could be put to good use!
7. Wearing more bright colors! 90% of my clothes are black, I literally look like an undertaker and it is starting to annoy me! More fun and colors in my life can not hurt…
8. Going to the cinema more often! I have not seen any movie since “Fifty Shades of Grey” which was a real dud. Shame on me, it would be great if I could develop my cinematographic culture! Really.
9. Not reading only magazines! Sometimes I really feel frivolous when “Cosmopolitan” and “Glamour” are my only sources of literary activity… Women’s magazines are very entertaining but I miss the time when I was reading one novel per week in high school. Maybe it’s not too late to change that!
10. Stop believing that I will finish my life alone! It is not because Jules broke my heart that all men are the same. Plus, I live in Paris, the city of romanticism by excellence! This is just between you and me: honestly, it will be time to worry only if I am still single at forty! In this case, I will marry my best friend like in the movies, but I have to find the male version of Kyla first.
11. Playing sports once a week! No matter the sport, as long as I do some physical work. Like that, I may succeed in losing my three extra kilos…
12. Applying a facial mask once a week! Mum told me that skin begins to age when you turn twenty-five. How depressing… Luckily, I still have a baby face!
Where to start? No matter the order of the wishes, as long as I manage to achieve them before March 23! Here are the hardships that I have experienced during my 12 wishes challenge…
The mask episode…
When I showed my list to Kyla, she immediately wanted to help me. Fan of beauty products, my best friend suggested that we start with the facial mask.
-“You just have to spread the product with your fingers, like when you put moisturizing cream on your face. And avoid the eye area!
– Thanks for the details, I didn’t intend to rub my eyes with it!
– Haha! See, it’s very easy to apply! And I love the texture!
– What is this color?! I look like Shrek!
– Honey, it’s a green clay mask. That’s why you have this beautiful greenish complexion. And you can’t be Shrek, you’re a girl. Let’s say that you look like Princess Fiona, it’s more appropriate!
– Dear Kyla, you always find the right words… And how long do I have to keep this stuff on my face?
– Fifteen minutes. After you will rince your face with lukewarm water and put moisturizing cream, that’s it! Do this once a week and you will get a gorgeous skin, baby!
– Ok, I got it. Let’s take a selfie to capture the moment!… Haha, we look like two crazy aliens!”
In order to kill time, we decided to take care of the beauty of our nails as well. Last week I bought nail polish that changes color with temperature for fun. Right now, I am mutating into a chameleon and it is at this suitable time that my neighbor (the sexy one, not the retired) chooses to knock on my door. Crap! Sadist, I think to send Kyla to open the door for me but she already ran to hide in the bathroom. What a chicken! Plus, she had the bad idea to put on some loud music so my neighbor knows that we are here! It is too early to remove the mask, it’s only been ten minutes. Never mind, ridicule never killed anyone, I am opening the door!
-“Jean-Christophe! How are…
– Calm down, it’s me, Rhéa!
– Rhéa? Really??? I thought Halloween was in October! You scared me!
– Haha! I saw that. What can I do for you?
– Can I borrow your bottle opener? I lost mine…
– Of course, you can! … Take it.
– Thanks. But can you explain to me why…
– It’s a beauty mask for the skin.
– I see… I thought you were auditioning for a remake of “Hulk”!
– I thought you were training yourself for a horror movie when you screamed earlier!
– Haha, can we keep it to ourselves, neighbor?
– Of course, Jean-Christophe. Have a nice day!
– Thank you, you too…”
If I am a girl of my word, this is not the case of my sneaky neighbor. Later in the day, I saw a paper stuck in the elevator saying that a Martian had been spotted on the fourth floor. What a deceitful guy! Careful Jean-Christophe, you have not seen the last of me. Just below his unfair joke, I wrote the perfect answer with a permanent marker: “If you are looking for an actor for a remake of “Scream”, I know the man you need. I listened to him cry out in agony this morning. Coincidence, he also lives on the fourth floor.” Now, Jean-Christophe no longer dares to make fun of me and I no longer think that he is sexy.
The macaroons episode…
Kyla did not have time to join my pastry workshop so I invited my friend Roland who is known for his voracious appetite. He is a bit chubby and we affectionately call him “Greedy Winnie” because he loves to eat and wear red T-shirts!
-“I found a recipe of macaroons “impossible to fail” on Marmiton website! Take an apron, Winnie, we’re not immune to stains!
– Can I take the red one, Rhé?
– Of course! I’ll take the blue one. Can you prepare me 74 grams of icing sugar?
– I didn’t know you could freeze sugar!
– Very funny! It’s the sugar people use to sprinkle the churros! Do you see it?
– Yes! It’s clearer that way, thank you.
– And use the scale to weight the sugar!… Why are you going to the bathroom?! I was speaking of the FOOD scale!
– …of course, I know it! I…just have to wash my hands!
– There is a sink in the kitchen!
– I…need to pee! Can I?
– Of course…and wash your hands after!
– Yes, chief!
– …Roland, I have already mixed the icing sugar with the almond powder. Can you sift the mixture for me?
– Ok, let me do it. I have already beaten egg white. Can you just prepare 10 grams of sugar for me please?
– I think I can… Done!
– THANK YOU. Add the sugar and the food coloring paste…yes, the raspberry color pot! Put a half teaspoon of it in the bowl of egg white… Awesome! Everything is mixed… Can you pour the mixture of icing sugar in this bowl?… Ok. Now we must gently toss all of this. Can you do it?
– I said GENTLY!
– But I AM gentle!
– You’re gonna break everything with your bear paws!
– Why are you so mean, Rhéa?! You know I’m not a chef! I just came to support you.
– Aww, I’m sorry Winnie Bear. Come here, give me a hug!
– I prefer that.
– Now, open the pipping bag. I have to pour the macaroon paste!… Thanks. And put a sheet of parchment paper on the baking tray! Now we’re gonna make small mounds on it. Do you wanna try?
– Yes please!
– Roland, you are supposed to make SMALL mounds!
– Sorry, I will eat the biggest ones!… Is it better?
– Perfect! Let me finish, you can have a break.
– Do you want me to make hot chocolate for us?
– Can you do that?
– It’s the only thing that I never fail in a kitchen. I can even add whipped cream on top!
– Thanks, it’s adorable. We have to let batter stand for fifteen minutes before baking. Let’s taste your Viennese chocolate!…”
Fifteen minutes after…
–“Winnie, look how beautiful they are!
– Good job, Rhé! They’re gorgeous. We still have to stuff them!
– Oh crap! I forgot the ganache and I’m too tired to do it!
– Can we use jam instead?
– I’m not tempted by jam… Oh, I have an idea! We will stuff our macaroons with Nutella!
– I like that! You’re a genius!
– Haha! I’m not a genius, just a lazy girl.
– It’s still brilliant!
– …Oh, I’m so proud of us! Look at these cute baby macaroons!
– Some were more fed than others!
– Haha, because they’re yours!
– True. Can I taste a macaroon?
– Wait! I want to draw smileys on top. Give me the pen… Not this one, I mean the pastry pen, Winnie! Thanks.
– They’re perfect now! Can we eat?
– Not yet! Come next to me, you deserve to pose with our masterpiece!
– Come on, I didn’t do much.
– Still, you helped me to realize a wish so it matters. Smile!…”
When I posted the picture of the macaroons on Facebook and Instagram, everyone wanted to taste them. Some of my friends, including Kyla, dropped by unexpected at my place. Needless to say that everything has gone in a flash. My first experience of homemade macaroons was a great success!
The colorful clothes episode…
Today I go shopping with Cerise, the most stylish of all my friends. She even managed to get a signed photo of Cristina Cordula, the empress of fashion, can you believe it? Cerise has planned to take us in Etam, Mango, Promod and H&M shops. Too bad that we are not in the summer, it would have been easier to find colorful clothes!
-“Sweetie, the goal is not to turn you into a tropical parrot! I just want to help you find less sad clothing than your usual mourning clothes! Black is classy but if you only wear this, people will think that you’re a depressive emo!
– You’re right, Cerise. I need more joyful clothing!
– Of course, Rhéa! You need to honor your name!
– What do you mean?
– Rhéa is supposed to be fresh and full of vitamins!
– Sorry honey but I think you confuse my name with the fruit juice brand!
– Oh, my mistake… It’s not the same?
– Nope. “Réa” is a brand of orange juice. And “Rhéa” means “flower” in Greek.
– It’s one more reason to stop dressing in black from head to toe! Have you ever seen a black flower?
– Nope, not that I can see…
– See! It’s time to bring a touch of light to your wardrobe so you can blossom like a flower in the sun!
– How can you be so poetic? Even your name exudes color!
– And here’s the thing: colors stimulate creativity, darling. Let’s have a look at these shops!”
The color block look is not my style and this is not the way in which Cerise wants to guide me. She first suggests me to brighten my outfit with colorful accessories: a scarf, a handbag, tights, fashion jewelery, nail polish…and immediately, my look seems less gloomy, more friendly and joyful. Colors seem to have a magical effect because I feel like smiling more spontaneously and full of a new energy, more dynamic and confident!
After accessories, we are looking for new clothes, which was still the original purpose of our expedition. With the help of Cerise, I finally set my sights on maroon skinny jeans, a white sweater, khaki Chino Pants, a light pink wrap pullover, a green sweater dress and a light blue vest. I have the feeling of becoming another person, another “me” more in tune with my personality, my aspirations and I feel more able to express myself. Seeing life in colors changes everything! I feel reborn and I like the new me. Even Cerise is amazed by this change both clothing and mental.
-“You are beautiful in these clothes! Seriously, you seem transformed, Rhéa! …”
It’s amazing how some clothing can boost your potential! I even bought sneakers and sportwear to move on the next wish…
The workout episode…
I swore to do sport once a week. It is time to keep my promise! Today I started by removing all the clothes that were cluttering my exercise bike. Too many people use it as a coat rack and it is a shame because an exercise bike has a lot of benefits. You can do sports at home whatever the weather, at any time, without having to worry about the eyes of others. You can pedal while watching the news, a movie or a series, listening to music… And you can change the speed to make it more difficult according to your needs. The calorie counter is also very useful. The exercise bike is excellent to tone thighs and buttocks. I usually stop after one hour not to saturate!
As I do not like monotony, I try to vary my sport activities and I try to play sports with friends to motivate myself. Depending on the weeks and the availability of people, I go to the swimming pool with Kyla, I play table tennis with Emeric, I run with Cerise or I do brisk walking with Roland. Indeed, Winnie is not very athletic so walking in Paris seemed to be a good compromise!
I finally made peace with my neighbor Jean-Christophe. I am not attracted to him anymore so when he offered me to discover a body combat class with him, I accepted serenely. For those who are unfamiliar, body combat is a powerful cardio workout which is perfect to let off steam. This highly energetic program is inspired by martial arts and draws from disciplines as varied as karate, boxing, taekwondo and tai chi for example. Punctuated by lively music and guided by efficient instructors, you burn calories and improve your cardiovascular endurance through movements of striking, punches, kicks and kata. It feels a bit like you are playing Street Fighter in real life!
At the end of the session, I am exhausted but delighted. This sport is awesome! I had so much fun!
-“Are you sure it’s the first time you’re doing body combat? You looked like a video game warrior! I’m impressed.
– Haha! Thank you, Jean-Christophe. It was my first body combat session, I swear.
– It seems that you’re a natural! You’re doing better than me and this was my third lesson!
– It’s just because I used to play a lot of combat video games. It helps a lot, trust me.
– Haha, so that was your secret! Are you going to sign up?
– Maybe… I love this game!
– This is not a game, Rhéa. It’s a sport!
– That’s the same for me! Thank you for inviting me anyway…”
Hope you enjoyed this first part. Have a nice day 🙂