The Slow-Cooked Sentence

Saying goodbye to Wednesdays

Rachael Conlin Levy

It’s library day.

This means a long walk, followed by stories and songs, a fresh selection of books tucked into a bag and a stop at the bakery shop. Ivan picks a table by the window so he can watch the buses pass, while I place our order. This means a hot chocolate and cookie for Ivan and a cup of coffee and a slice of quiche or a croissant or  (this week) a cornmeal, apricot and sage cookie.

The woman behind the counter is young with a swirl of hair the color of my cappuccino. I decide she looks and therefore must taste like breakfast, and wonder when she goes home whether her boyfriend buries his nose in hair that smells of coffee and whether her kisses are crisp and buttery. Her boss, the baker, stands behind her at a small counter flattening hills of dough into thin sheets. He’s thin and tall with black hair, black-rimmed glasses and smiles rarely. I can’t taste the severity in his croissants so perhaps it doesn’t matter, perhaps his aloofness, his preoccupation with the origami-like folding and refolding of dough is the secret to the success of the bakery.

Marcel once spent a weekend making croissants. Butter was folded into flour, chilled in the refrigerator, taken out and refolded, chilled again. Hours passed in such a manner until the dough was cut, rolled into crescents and baked. When he pulled them from the oven the croissants floated in pools of butter, their foundations scorched. We pulled off the blackened bottoms but it made no difference: They remained inedible. Once or twice I’ve thought about those dark moons as I bit into my flaky, buttery, perfect croissant, but mostly not, mostly I just think it, Man, does this taste good.

This small, enjoyable routine, the memory it calls forth and the people whose strangeness is comfortingly reassuring will end soon. School is closing and three more children will share my Wednesdays, which means it’s time to create new habits. Summer unhinges me. Its freedom — all the opportunities, the possibilities — leaves me swinging from the end of a question mark.

5 responses to “Saying goodbye to Wednesdays”

  1. I think you’ll come up with a better Wednesday routine.

  2. Andrea says:

    Mmm…I can taste those croissants…and the possibilities of summer sound delicious too (says the one who just drops the kids at daycare).

  3. anno says:

    mmm…. lovely school day routine; but, like Denise, bet you’ll find something at least as wonderful for summer.

  4. Lifewithoutmathematics says:

    I love the image of you swinging at the end of the question mark. Fabulous!

  5. penelope says:

    Lovely! What a beautiful routine… and eyes-open account!

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