I walked in to the Duchess Bake Shop on Edmonton's 124th Street in great need of something. I didn't know what. Or maybe the what was so much in front of me it had lost its obviousness, an object obscured on the near side of my depth of field.
Everything slowed. Sun streamed in through the window and the light inside went golden. A stack of menus, crisp and elegant, paper linen, letters pressed. A whoosh of steam, the clatter of ceramic. People smiled, pressed up against glass with friends. Paris-Brest. Brioche. Galettes. Florentines. Ooh, I want that one and These are my favourite. A solemn young man in white emerged from double-doors carrying a tray high above his head. He set it down gently on the counter and everyone leaned forward, pulled by the witness of soft, buttery warmth straight from the oven.
I was in great need of something. I didn't know what. When everything slowed, I could feel its approach.
You've thought it. I've thought it.
I can't do this. I can't get through this.
Everything is falling.
We will be crushed
There will not be enough understanding
Slow down. It's my turn.
Black tea, please. And macarons. One creme brulee, and a lemon, and salted caramel, and the lavender. And...
His hand rests in the air over a tray of pistachio.
Taste this. Discord can't exist in the same moment as this. It's impossible.
You sigh. See? Oh my god.
The sun and the smiles on everyone, all of us pained and fearful and wanting. We feel so viscerally responsible for failure, for lack of control, for disappointing others. And yet here is this macaron, a small, perfect French thing that slows the spin of the earth.
You might be in great need of a sigh like that, the untwisting kind that wraps you in yellow. This was mine.
When your brain is a bloodthirsty mob, taste this and it'll go quiet, at least for a while.
Everything is going to be alright.