The baker’s shift

Two days a week I show up at a Brooklyn pastry shop at 5:30am to pick up the day’s deliveries. When I get here the lights are on low and the windows are all fogged up. The baker has been here since I don’t know when but the way his bike leans up precariously against the wall and his helmet sits so thoughtlessly on the counter make me think that last night he dreamed of bread.

I stack boxes of pastries on my bike: croissants and apple tarts and cinnamon rolls. And one last thing, a pastry in a white paper bag. It is my breakfast. Out on the sidewalk I put it close to my face and what it smells like is cobbled streets in Nimes, pre-dawn Christmas Eve morning when there is no one out except me and some woman in a cape-like coat. And I make up a story about her that she is a baker because these streets are saturated with the smell of bread.

Then I open my eyes and there’s the glowing subway entrance, a rumbling truck, a construction worker on his way to work, and the Christmas lights strung between buildings on Grand.

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