A Smell Of Flat Christmas Muffins
He got off the taxi, slammed the door of the old wreck of a car, and took a wide step to the sidewalk. The street looked just as it had in his memories. He hoped, that the cake would look and smell just the same as he remembered it, too. It had been a long trip, fourteen hours on the plane, to be exact. He hated flying and he was not a big fan of traveling by bus and taxi to reach a tiny town by the coast either, but now that he took a deep breathe and looked around Via Cecarreli, it had been worth the effort. What he was looking to buy, resembled a tiny pie or rather a muffin. Had he to describe to a foreigner, just what exactly Bocconotto were, he would have called them flat Christmas muffins. But that was not what he remembered them as. The smell of roasted almonds, heavy cocoa and a pinch of cinnamon got into his nose, before he could even spot the bakery, he was looking to buy them at.
His phone rang and abruptly ripped him from his dreams of cake and desserts. “Yes, Doctor, what is it” he answered when he saw the caller in the display. He hoped, not to have sounded too impatient to the good man, who took care of his mother lately. And he hoped, that the news wouldn’t be too bad. The person calling wasn’t Doctor Friedman. The number looked very similar, coming from the same hospital. The hospital, where Maria was probably sitting by her side right now, but also the clinic he handed the samples for the blood tests to, last week. He had forgotten about it, forgotten she wasn’t the only one in need for assistance anymore. It wasn’t good news. In fact, the news were world shattering and any other day, they would have crushed his heart and caused a breakdown. What they said was, that he had twelve hours to get to the clinic and take an experimental shot, that could possibly save his liver. His second liver that was, for it was a transplant that had been rejected and now failed completely. The intoxication would take not more than another day. He thanked the man on the phone and hung up calmly.
Reaching the bakery, he took a deep breath of air filled with cookies, bread and cake. The smell not only of his childhood but of a lifetime. He had passed that bakery that often in his younger days, that whenever he walked by another bakery somewhere around Providence, he remembered this old place with the old door, the light blue paint peeling off, and the fogged windows. When he entered, a little bell chimed and a woman, maybe in her sixties, turned around at one of the ovens. “Un attimo!” she yelled in a friendly, calm voice. He had the moment. He had all the time in the world, to look at all the cute little pieces on offer, the warm bread at the shelves and even the fresh flowers in the windows. A coffeepot caught his attention. One of those white pots with blue details and flowers. “My mother used to have one of those, when we were still living in town. I broke it one day.” He said, absent minded and muttered “I’m still sorry”.
“Oh, you’re from around here, then?” The woman was now with him, wiping her hands clean at her floral apron. “Actually, I’ve been spending my whole childhood on the steps to your store. It hasn’t changed a bit!”, he looked around some more, soaked up every detail of this familiar place. “Ah, it wasn’t ours back then, you’re talking Gabriella’s old bakery. But I’m glad, you found your way back! What can I get you after that long trip from – where do you live now?” “Rhode Island, the ‘State of hope’.” he chuckled, although she probably couldn’t follow this little joke “But you could do me a favor or two. I’m dying for a piece of warm cake.” It wasn’t just a saying to him now, anymore. He wouldn’t make the flight.
“Just whatever is the freshest. And I’d like some Bocconotto. To take home, that is.” After a short break, he added “They are not for me, but my mother’s favorite. She would be glad to be here, right now – with Christmas getting closer!” ‚And her breath getting more shallow by the hour‘, he added silently.
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