Concierge : “Good evening, my name is Taeyeon, how may I help you?”
Caller : “I have a problem and I need help.”
Taeyeon : “Sure, I’m at your service. May I know what kind of assistance do you require, Miss….(looking for the caller’s name on the screen) Jung?”
Miss Jung : “I’m doing a crossword puzzle and I’m stuck at one of the clues.”
Taeyeon has heard of many weird requests before but this request for assistance in a crossword puzzle is certainly a first.
It was 6pm but Lee Soonkyu, the principal, was still going on about work flow processes, developing critical thinking skills, disciplinary issues and other matters for the past two hours. At times, someone would excuse himself or herself to go to the washroom. Occasionally a teacher would stifle a yawn and another would stretch his or her arms to stay focused during the meeting.
Jessica was thankful for her current seat in the meeting room. First, it was towards the back and she could check her Instagram feed and Facebook every now and then to cure her boredom. Second and more important reason, she had direct view of her crush who was sitting just two rows in front of her. She enjoyed looking at him, dreaming about the things she would say to him or the things they would do if they went out on a date.
A pencil broke into two and a grunt was heard. Everyone around the blonde stopped what they were doing momentarily and looked at her.
“Argh!” Wendy slammed her journal shut and stuffed it into her satchel. Swinging the strap cross her body, she left the cafe in a huff.
Lately, Wendy had been having the writer’s block. The deadline for her article was drawing near and it was tremendously stressful. Her boss would definitely skin her alive if the article didn’t arrive in his inbox by the end of the week. She was a regular contributor to a lifestyle column in the local newspaper and had to submit an article every week. Deciding a noisy cafe was way too distracting for her, Wendy decided to work at home.
On the way to the train station, Wendy noticed a short queue forming outside a bakery. Curious, she stopped to take a look. There was a chalkboard sign placed outside the bakery with the handwritten words “Soft, tender and warm. Fall in love with our unforgettable chocolate bread today.”
“The orders are coming in fast and furious this year,” Yuri commented as she flipped through the order sheets. “Mrs Choi ordered one hundred cupcakes and two log cakes for her Christmas party, Passion Hair Salon ordered two log cakes, Han Gang Elementary School ordered … oh my… three hundred cream puffs, four log cakes and three boxes of swiss rolls…”
“Mr TW Kim just called to place an order for one strawberry shortcake and one white chocolate log cake,” Yoona called out as she peeked into the kitchen.
“Got it!” Yuri replied, furiously jotting down the order onto the last page of the stack of papers on her clipboard.
The whirring sound of the electric mixer stopped.
“Good news for us then. Looks like we gotta work extra hard to push out the orders in time for Christmas,” Taeyeon commented. “Fighting!”
Yuri and Yoona looked at each other before making a fist with their right hands and punching them into the air.
The office was unusually quiet as Taeyeon walked in. The lights were on but there was no one around. She checked the schedule in her phone and glanced at her watch. It was definitely a normal working day. Perhaps everyone was late due to the heavy snow earlier in the morning.
Pausing in the middle of the walkway, Taeyeon looked wistfully at the department’s cubicles and rooms. She had submitted her resignation a few weeks ago and was currently serving her notice. She missed the fun and laughter, as well as, the tears and pain they shared. However, the lure of better prospects and pay proved too appealing. In her current position, she knew she wouldn’t be able to rise in ranks.
After settling down in her room, Taeyeon headed for the pantry to get coffee. Just as she turned at the corner, she almost dropped her mug in shock.
As Jessica ambled into the kitchen, she heard sounds of someone rummaging through the cabinets. She saw several doors of their cabinets open and a small figure crouched behind one of the open doors.
“Taeyeon ah, what are you doing?”
Several crockery and boxes were scattered all over the floor. The older woman stuck her head into the cabinet and seemed to be looking for something.
“Darling, what are you looking for?”
Having a sweet tooth, it was no surprise that Yoona applied as a server in the neighbourhood ice cream parlour when she heard that it was hiring. It didn’t hurt to earn extra cash on days when she had no classes at the university. Plus, she was entitled to try the latest flavours of handmade ice cream.
The usual flavours such as chocolate, vanilla and mint sold well but very few people were willing to try unique flavours such as sweet corn, basil or avocado. Yoona tried all of them and was amazed at the owner’s creativity.
One afternoon, time seemed to be crawling slower than a snail. There were only two customers at lunch time and no one else entered the shop since then. Yoona kept herself busy by wiping the ice cream freezer or washing the scoops so that she wouldn’t fall asleep. About mid-afternoon, the bell rang as a customer opened the door.