No Donuts

He was young, in college. All this actually takes place at that college. Or near it, kind of. So he was young, nineteen or maybe more like twenty, but either way young like that. He and his friends were accustomed to watching a particular television show on a particular night, a show that had specific characters with specifically quirky things about them. Donuts were somehow part of the show. Or maybe it was pie or cake or something, and the friends had made some kind of leap to donuts, but either way, they were accustomed to getting some donuts to eat while watching this particular show. But that night, it was snowing.

Is this one of those stories where you switch, you like pretend you're a guy just so you can tell me something personal that happened to you?

No, she said.

Because it's okay, you can tell me stuff. It's no big deal.

Okay, she said.

But that night, it was snowing really hard. And when he was looking through the window of the television lounge, he heard one of his friends say something about looks like no donuts.

"Yes donuts," he said, picking up the keys to his car.

Here's a moment: the donut-shop windows are covered with foggy condensation as he enters and sees a tray of honey-dipped donuts just being brought out from the kitchen. The donuts are actually steaming. The steam from the donuts is sticking to the windows and so the whole place is enveloped in sweet donut goodness. He might even feel a little drool gathering on the side of his mouth. He walks up to the counter and asks for a dozen but could the woman put one donut in a separate bag, please. So he can eat it in the car. He can't even wait to get back to the school, some of the donut goodness will have escaped. He is sure of it.

Oh, that's good. A donut. Gee, Dr. Freud, I wonder what that could mean?

Maybe it's just a donut.

Yeah, right.

Do you not want to hear any more?

No, keep going. You should keep going.

When he went back outside, his car was already covered with snow. It was snowing much, much harder than before. But he didn't clean off the car just yet. He got inside and sat in the soft-white insulated car and hungrily ate his donut. The melted sugar dripped on his fingers and he licked them slowly. Really slowly. He made sure no sugar was left on his fingers, and every bit of the donut was tasted completely. He sat for a while, listening to the whispery sounds outside, then got out and brushed all of the snow off the car. When he was done with that, he got back in, started the car and pulled out of the parking lot.

That's not the end, he said.

No, she said.

She was buying construction paper, red and white and pink. For Valentine's Day decorations for a party on her floor of her dorm where she was the resident advisor. She was planning to make the rough sheets into big, fat hearts and write funny things on them like "Not a Chance" and "Yeah, Right." She was wandering down the aisle of the drugstore, looking for crepe-paper streamers that she could hang from the ceiling and doilies that she could use as backgrounds for the big fat hearts.

She was buying construction paper, all different colors. For decorations for a holiday party on her floor of her dorm where she was the resident advisor. She was planning to make the rough sheets into invitations that she could slip into the mailboxes of the guys she and her friends had picked out of the many that they knew. She had one in mind that she would send a green invitation. She had one in mind that she would send a red invitation.

She had been in the store a long time. Her car had at least two inches of snow when she found it in the parking lot. Probably more than three inches. Snow really can fall that fast here, she thought, being fairly new to here.

Before pulling out onto the main road back to school, she thought twice about driving. Maybe the roads are bad by now, she thought.

I see where you're going. Man, I hate that, when I look back on things, and I realize that I had actually thought, hey, maybe I shouldn't do this, when the thing I do ends up being some sort of huge mistake.

Me too.

When I look back and it seems logical, the way things happened.


Right. Hindsight.

The roads are really bad now, he thought, as he tried to see through the blur that was outside his windshield. Maybe I should stop and wait it out. Maybe I'll

Here's a moment: Just as her car is swerving to the center of the road, barely missing a car that has skidded over the side, she hears a voice saying Told You. Maybe she even has the voice that said it, to claim that she was somehow right in her wrongness. But then she regains control of the car and pulls over.

And then she regains control of the car and pulls over, but her front right tire slides over the edge of the sloped roadway. Her wheel is just spinning, while she looks in her rear-view mirror at the other car. Immediately snow blurs her view.

His car was halfway in the ditch, and hers was stuck.

We should walk back; we'll follow the trees along the road, he told her.

This seemed logical to her because she knew that the line of trees led all the way up to the first building of the school.

If we can just get from tree to tree, we'll be okay, he said.

Okay, she said. She followed him up to the first tree.

Are you laughing?

No, he said. Well, yeah.


It reminded me of a movie, the one about the plane crash, where some guys ended up eating their friends. To stay alive. I think it was called

She followed him up to the first tree and then they stopped and stayed behind the trunk. She couldn't see anything around them and the wind felt like it was pulling the air out of her lungs. She felt like someone was trying to strangle her from the inside.

We should keep going, he said.

Okay, she said.

They walked like that from tree to tree, blinded by whiteness. Steps became huge efforts, and once she even started laughing, thinking how unreal the whole situation was.

She hoped he hadn't heard her laugh.

At the eleventh tree they could almost see the lights of the dormitory on the edge of campus. Huge gusts of wind blew over and she held onto his waist. He kept walking an she kept holding on.

This shouldn't end like this, she thought.

When they entered the dorm, they found a huge, loud party. Their two faces were bright red and very wet. No one seemed to notice them standing there, as they shook off the snow. They took off their coats and spent some time rubbing their arms and legs to warm up. They finally looked at each other.

Should we go in, to the party? he asked.

Okay, she said.

Should we go in, to the party? he asked.

No, she said.

Should we go in, to the party? he asked.

Why? she said.

I don't know.

I already feel pretty wasted, she said.

Me too. So, what do you want to do? he asked, hooking his finger in a belt loop of her pants.

I don't know, she said, looking at his shoes.

I wish I had my donuts, he said.

She backed away because she had no idea what he meant.

She backed away because she had no idea what he meant. She looked back at him.

Yeah, that would be good, she said after a while. Donuts.

As they stood without talking, they watched the party people come and go. They watched and waited until they thought the snow had stopped, and soon after that, they left.

About the author:

Amy Havel lives in Portland, Maine. She has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award for her fiction, and is currently working on a novel involving schizophrenia, dogs, and disappearing airplanes.