This morning I realized my favorite bakery was full of women. Women quietly ordering and eating amazing treats — hot chai with whip, caramel lattes, croissant, strawberry jam linzertortes. I watched a young girl sitting alone, her sole concentration on a cerise mousse confection with a candied violet on top, licking each bite off the back of her fork. Another in her work suit was carefully choosing colorful macaroons. A dozen plates were covered in quivering quiche, tall cannele, brioche. There was not a man in sight.
I felt this surge of solidarity. A day when hearts are the theme can be hard — don’t hearts come in all sizes and shapes? — and in this buttery room it was a good guess that some were small or full or broken or mending or lost — and a Hallmark holiday does not fix this.
When a hot chocolate with whip was called out, no one stood. But a small pair of yellow boots caught my eye.
”I bet this is yours” I walked it over. She looked up at me, then at my yellow purse. “I like yellow” she answered, her spoon ready to plunge into the cup. “Well,” I answered, “we have to bring the sun to us when it is hiding.”
I did a heart check: mine is beating but broken, alive but grieving. I am a tattered heart; 2020 started rough. I lost a best friend, a woman who many called best friend — an amazing mother, a wife so loved. On January 6 a hole blasted through my heart and I know many other hearts. Valentine’s Day is the first of many many significant dates that I will want to call her and remind her how much I love her. But cannot.
I order a cortado and chocolate croissant and sit with my little piece of sunshine dripping hot chocolate all over her boots and thank the earth for holding me a little longer and giving me this moment.
To all the women at Rosselini’s today, bravo: today we make some sunshine for ourselves. One day at a time.
Missing you, Lou.
”We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love.”
— Tennessee Williams