My tone wouldn’t have been nearly as crude if she’d just allowed me to go there. In the meantime, the cannoli I was forced to buy at Mike’s Pastry was messy and sticky and got all over my shirt. Since I’d waited to savor the taste, the supposedly sweet, creamy ricotta cheese had now melted and turned into a deformed, chaotic mess. All I was craving was one thing and one thing only: sushi. Those cold rolls of vinegar-flavored, cooked rice served with a garnish of raw fish and vegetables made me feel like nirvana was in visible sight. And it was.

“Maya!” I whined while pulling on the sleeve of her turquoise blouse. “Can we please just go to the sushi place down the street?”

“No. I told you. We have to meet with John. Then we’ll see,” she joked, eyes glued to her gold iPhone. She had that kind of bland, crass humor that made you chuckle.

I lingered along, the annoyance settling in on my face.

The soles of my feet were strained, and the heat made my head feel as if it’d been poked with a thousand tiny pins. Maya staggered along next to me, drained by my constant bickering and insensitive jokes (but surely she was amused). I felt the sun’s rays like searing beams, piercing me in every place imaginable. The neighborhood was like a hectic festival, anonymous fruits and vegetables shoved in barrels and baskets while curious shoppers dug in their pockets for money to buy them. The streets were jagged and unpaved, and were barely visible due to the unorganized swarm of buildings that towered over the landscape. Tart tomatoes and meaty sausages compelled my senses with a symphony of smells as we approached Ernesto’s.

The pizza shop was weary, the brick walls immensely fatigued by the stretch of time they had endured. Entering the shop, I was showered with the aromas of varying cheeses. They wiggled their way up my nose, and made themselves comfortable. The shop was run-down, but in that rustic, vintage way that made you even more curious to try the food. I darted over to John, who’d been occupied with a large pan of cheese and pepperoni pizza that he’d previously ordered. Without even the slightest question, I yanked one from the bunch and found a place to sit. The seats were stiff and the shop was congested with posters, tables, and ravenous people impatiently waiting for their meals. I took a slow bite, savoring the flaming, cheesy taste that released my body of all pain. Half of a pepperoni traveled along with the bite, adding a sizzle to the joyous endeavor. As it settled in my stomach, I felt sustained and accomplished.

After wiping the smear of oil that circled my mouth and poking out the remains of cheese and tomato with my tongue, I had an epiphany that made me grin.

“Maya, so what about the sushi?” I asked, eager to hear her response.

“Bashar. It’s time to go,” she sighed, too worn out to even look at me.

I grabbed my bag from the wobbly chair beside me, disappointed but satisfied.

Bashar A.
9th Grade

Boston & Beyond
Polished Piece

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