The Cake Shop
I only have to be patient. Word will get around about my cakes.
It might seem like just a quaint little shop, maybe even a little rundown. It might not immediately spark the kind of interest a fancier, newer shop would attract. But I go in every night, knead the dough, turn the ovens on, watch as the dough rises and the white mixture slowly browns, and cracks a little on top.
I ice them as the sun rises.
It might take a few months, once I arrive, for word to spread. I might only get a couple of customers on my first day. But they will come. I know from experience. From everywhere I go. Two becomes four, becomes eight, becomes sixteen, becomes thirty-two.
And so it goes.
Sooner or later Gerald will walk in. He'll wander along casually, notice a cake or croissant or a danish or something in the window. And he'll stop. He'll walk in. He'll look nearly as I remember, so perfectly close, just a tiny softening around the edges, a gentle creasing, but the same solid shoulders, the curved sweep of his chin; those keen, budding eyes. I guess he might be forty-two by now, but the eyes are still popping with youth.
He doesn't seem to recognise me. I don't expect it. There's too many years, too many miles, a touch or two here and there of too much magic. For both of our sakes. But when I see him, I do remember: I'm flung back to my youth, and back to the long nights under the stars, lying on the bonnet of a car, the wind blowing over our faces, the city lights far in the distance. Time was just so... immaterial.
“Thanks,” he says casually, as I hand him a sugared doughnut and take his money.
Just for a moment he half turns back, he looks at me as if some sudden thought has just struck him. A memory caught in his mind? But he chases it away, reaches for the door. Do his eyes flick back one more time, something stirring beneath the surface? Or do I just wish that?
As he walks away, a new customer walks past him into the shop.