Ana and her boyfriend Jason sat quietly in the ramen restaurant, enjoying their bowl of miso ramen. They frequented this place a lot, since they both loved asian food and neither of them could cook well.
After a few minutes, Jason finally broke the silence.
“Hey, Ana…I have something to tell you,” he said, looking nervously at his hands.
“What is it?” she asked, placing a hand over his.
“I, uh…I got a new job,” he said. “And it’s out of state.”
Anna’s heart sank. She knew this day would come eventually, but she had been hoping it wouldn’t be so soon.
“How long do I have?” she asked quietly.
“Two weeks,” Jason replied. “I’m sorry, Ana. I really am. But this is a great opportunity for me and I have to take it.”
Anna nodded, fighting back the tears. She knew he was right, but that didn’t make the news any easier to hear.
“When do you leave?” she asked.
“Next week,” he said. “I already bought my plane ticket.”
Again, Anna nodded. She didn’t trust herself to say anything else without breaking down.
“Listen, Ana…I don’t want to leave you,” Jason said earnestly. “But I have to do this. I hope you can understand.”
“I do,” she said softly. “And I’m happy for you. Really, I am.”
Jason reached across the table and took her hand.
At that moment a loud explosion came from the kitchen.
Both Ana and Jason jumped up from their seats. A deafening scream followed.
“What the hell was that?” Jason shouted.
As if in answer, a man came flying out of the kitchen, engulfed in flames. He crashed into their table, toppling it over.
Instinctively, Ana ran to him and tried to smother the flames with her jacket. Jason did the same. But it was too late. The man was already dead.
Turning back to the kitchen, they saw thick black smoke billowing out.
“Oh my God,” Ana said. “The whole place is on fire!”
Jason coughed violently. “We have to get out of here!” he yelled.
He grabbed Ana’s hand and they ran for the exit. They could hear the sound of sirens in the distance, but they didn’t wait for help. They ran as fast as they could until they were a safe distance away from the restaurant.
Then they stopped and turned back to look at the devastation. The whole place was engulfed in flames and there was nothing anyone could do to stop it.
Ana felt numb as she stared at the ruin of what used to be her favorite restaurant. She knew that this was just the beginning. Jason’s job opportunity might have been the best thing for him, but it was the worst thing for her.
Because now she was going to have to learn how to cook.