The whole family, in-laws, children and all, piled into the minivan to drive to church for the Christmas Eve service. On the way, my daughter asked about donuts.
"What was that?" I said.
My wife explained. "We had a discussion this afternoon and we all thought it would be nice if we could have donuts to eat on Christmas morning."
I began shaking in anticipation. Finally. A Christmas miracle. After being deprived--voluntarily--of Dunkin' Donuts for weeks, I would finally FINALLY be able to indulge in some precious double chocolate cake donuts. And maybe a chocolate creme, the most evil and disgusting and delicious donut of all. We had to order a dozen and there were only eight of us, so I was guaranteed at least two or three donuts to call my very own.
We arrived at church and I sat through the service in my own personal religious ecstasy. We heard "Gift of the Magi" and sang Silent Night in candlelight. I thought about donuts. Sweet, heavenly donuts.
We departed and took the turn away fro our home and towards Dunkin' Donuts. My wife looked at me.
"Where are we going?" she asked.
"Dunkin' Donuts," I replied. Duh.
"Oh," she said. "Right. I forgot about that."
Forgot?! Okay. It's okay. Calm blue ocean. Sweet chocolate donut. I breathed and kept driving.
We arrived at Dunkin' Donuts, the building softly lit in the early evening dark, a sanctuary of peace and tranquility in an ever-quieting city, sleeping silently as Christmas truly began to enfold us all.
The kids and I slipped out of the minivan, orders taken from the rest of our party, and we waltzed into the sweet oasis.
Inside, a young employee was mopping the floor behind the counter. Behind him were the racks. And they were empty.
Completely and utterly empty. Devoid of any trace of donuts.
There were two muffins and a handful of bagels. And nothing else. Nothing at all.
"Um," I finally stammered, "We wanted to get some donuts."
"We're out," the employee said. "Sorry." He pushed the mop away from us without so much as a second glance.
I stood in shock, frozen in place for a moment, taking in the empty surroundings, then finally gathered up my children and my courage and returned to the minivan to deliver the news.
They took it well. A little shocked, as I was, but then my wife suggested we try the other Dunkin' Donuts across town. So we headed out. But to no avail. It was the same story at the other store. No donuts. There were no donuts to be found anywhere. No room at the inn.
My wife eventually bought a chocolate bundt cake at the grocery store. Sure, it looked a bit like a giant donut, and it was not unlike the chocolate glazed donut in taste and texture.
But it wasn't the same. It wasn't the same thing at all.