© Copyright 2019 by Laura Labno
Anything else? - asked I placing a plate with a cinnamon roll and a pot of tea in front of a man whose face looked like a raisin
That would be all, my love said he looking at me with curiosity - You must be new, I haven't seen you before.
- oh, yes I smiled - Actually its my first day here, my aunt runs this place.
- Rebecca is your aunt? She is such a marvellous woman. Bakes like no one in the entire world.
I smiled again hearing someone speaking in such a way about aunt Rebecca.
- I know, I hope she will teach me how to make these delicious cinnamon rolls.
The man smiled friendliy and patted the chair next to him.
Sit down my dear child, I must get to know you a little. My name is Tony.
Since there were no other customers in the bakery I did as Tony said.
My name is Isabella I introduced myself gazing with jealousy at his cinnamon roll. I loved cinnamon rolls and it's been a long time since I had my lunch..
Take one, I'm sure Rebecca wouldn't mind. Or, I'll just pay for it! - Said Tony.
I didn't allow Tony to pay for my cinnamon roll but I did allowed myself to have one. It was such a nice day.The sun was shining, the radio was playing quietly in the corner, and the smell filling aunt's bakery...
I love the smell of cinnamon. It's one of these warm smells which I like to think of when I need to make myself feel better. - I said it more to myself rather than to Tony but he replied with interest.
Can you recall any of such situations?
I thought for a moment. There was many of such situations in my life. Sometimes the smallest things would make me feel sad but I wanted to choose something what at least seemed worth feeling bad about.
Once, I worked in a horrible place I started after a while It was a restaurant where everybody was rude and screamed at each other. The boss didn't appreciate his workers and I simply hated going there with every bit of myself. On my way there I would always think of colors of autumn, Christmas, gingerbreads and, most of all, the color and smell of cinnamon
Tony laughed warmly.
- I would probably think of a pumpkin pie and... my dog.
- That's a good choice!- I laughed. He seemed to be such a nice man and his raisin shaped face was making me feel very calm for some reason.
The door opened and two boys entered the bakery. I stood up and went to serve them, allowing Tony to continue reading his newspaper. After they left I've decided to wipe the tables. They were clean anyway but I wanted to look like I was doing something. After all, it was my first day at work and I wanted to make a good impression, even if the only witness of my commitment to my new role would be Tony. I lifted up a sugar bowl from one of the tables, to wipe the space underneath it, and something white caught my attention. It was a small piece of paper. I picked it up and unfolded it without paying too much attention to it. I expected it to be an old receipt but... it wasn't. It turned out to be a short note. If you still want to meet I will wait on the bench in front of Marries' Weeping Willow at 6:30 pm, on Monday, P.. I looked at the short letter fascinated. Today was Monday. Who left it there and who was meant to receive it? I already knew where the Marries Weeping Willow was. It was one of the nicest, and in fact the very few, spots in the town, located by the lake.
What is it? - I heard Tony's voice. I looked at him and realized that he was observing me. I showed him the letter.
Ohh... hm . - His face looked as if he knew something. He smiled mysteriously what ensured me in my suspicions.
I think you should put it where you found it Said he. I wanted to say something or ask questions but I stopped myself from doing so. I felt that Tony was enjoying my uncertainty. I've decided to remain patient. I slowly took the piece of paper back, folded it and did as he said. Then I served one little girl who was wearing a beautiful dress with purple flowers. I pointed out how much I liked her outfit and handed her two almond croissants which she asked for. After that I went to make some coffee for myself, almost not remembering any more about the note. As I constantly forget things and get distracted very easily it wouldn't be very surprising for someone who knows me. Tony however was clearly puzzled with my behaviour. My mind was still full of purple petals when I heard his voice
Aren't you interested in the note?
Oh I smiled Yes I am. I took my coffee and sat again in front of him.
Do you know who left it there? - I asked.
I come here often He smiled I do tend to see things
Well, it must be very interesting. - I answered politely thinking at the same time that he must have been really enjoying trying to be mysterious. Suddenly a thought appeared in my head.
Can you imagine, Tony, how many things must places know? So many stories, secrets, conversations, confessions... how many different tones of voice and colours of dresses and smells of perfumes and smiles and tears they must have seen. And there is a story behind every single one of them.
He was looking at me with his old blue eyes peacefully, not smiling any more, and for a short moment I saw a sparkle of sadness somewhere deep down there, in his eyes. There was a story too.
- We are all characters in a story I said smiling. It wasn't a very insightful thought, merely a little over sentimentalized remark. Yet I was hoping it would cheer him up Aren't we?
Yes we are Said he We are stories ourselves, Ann. And we are characters in many stories, not just one. In every one of them we are a different one.
I looked at him with curiosity. A strange and a little disturbing thought appeared in my head.
It is as if we were many persons, not just one.
Oh, indeed we are. You see, everything is a matter of perspective. That's why there isn't really any good or bad people or, well, at least we will never know if there are. Everyone of us has its own little world, lives in a story, a novel, a drama, a comedy... we usually don't get to choose here. And, well, we do appear in other people's stories and they appear in ours. And in every single one we play a different part. So...
So, who... do we really are, Tony? - Asked I holding my mug of coffee so strongly that it started burning my hands.
He didn't answer straight away. His face looked very serious and I felt a little bad that I put him in such a mood.
I don't know, Ann. You tell me. - He said finally and I think I understood what he meant. It wasn't just that he didn't know, it was more than that. There was no way to know. There was simply no way to answer this question. I've never thought about human personality in such a way. I've never thought of myself in such a way. I was always thinking who was I to myself. But... in this moment I realized that I was that person, who I believed I was, just in my little world, not in the world in general and, certainly not in other peoples worlds.
I almost jumped as I suddenly heard people entering the bakery. It was a women and a my-age looking girl, both carrying suitcases. I stood up quickly and went behind the counter.
Becky, the train is leaving in 15 minutes. You could get some food at the station Said the woman. She seemed frustrated.
I know mum Said the girl. She seemed a little distracted, somehow nervous and I could see that her little hands were shaking. Her brown eyes were scanning the room, searching for something or someone I just... could you buy me a cinnamon roll? I just... need to check something, I think, I've left something here.
Her mother approached the counter with an unsatisfied facial expression and did as her daughter asked. While serving her I was at the same time observing the girl with the corner of my eye. I sort of felt what was going to happen and wasn't surprised when Becky approached the table and picked up, just like me merely some 20 minutes earlier, the same little silver sugar bowl. She unfolded the piece of paper quickly and read the massage. Some emotion passed through her face but she reminded rather peaceful. She gently put the piece of paper back where it was and approached her mum.
- Going on vacation? - Asked I handing her the cinnamon roll.
Moving out actually Answered the women - My husband got a job in Australia... Did you find what you were looking for Becky?- Asked she when she noticed her daughter. - Can we go now?
Hmm...? - Her reaction was a bit delayed, she was clearly somewhere else in this moment Oh, yes.
Well, good luck then. It sounds very exciting! - I said smiling.
Its rather stressful Sighted the woman But thank you. Come Becky, or we will be late for the train.
And they left the bakery.
It didn't last longer than five minutes and wasn't much different from all the other experiences that I had in the bakery that day. Except from the note part. The girl expected it to be there. I looked at Tony and he was looking at me.
So who do you think you were in this story? - Asked he. I smiled because it was exactly the same question that I asked myself in this moment.
No one significant I guess.
Well, if you didn't put the note back there the girl would never find it.
But I answered slowly It was you who told me to put it back there. And... she will never know that. Tony...
Do you think that people who we know nothing about... who we don't even know that they exist often determine important events in our lives?
Of course, Ann.
When he said that it suddenly appeared very obvious to me. I guess it was one of these truths that we tend to know intuitively, yet, don't realize that we know them until we are actually told about them. This insignificant situation and the discussion I had with Tony induced in me a sort of feeling that everything is really connected in a strange, impossible to understand ways. There were rules, workings of the universe, which were shaping our actions and, at the same time which our actions were shaping in return. It felt like such revealing to realise how much one can understand merely by watching the most insignificant situations in life. It was just a my first day at work, at a small bakery in a small town. It was just a short conversation with Tony, an older man who I knew nothing about but whose merely few questions and remarks allowed me to uncover a tiny, yet magical, part of the surrounding me reality.
I think you should start closing. - I heard Tony's voice.
I looked at the clock. Yes, it was almost 6. Tony stood up.
- I shall see you tomorrow Said he.
I smiled hearing his promise.
- Should I expect you to be a permanent customer?
- Absolutely! It was more than pleasure to talk to you, Ann Said he Say hi to your aunt, OK?
I nodded my head and then hesitated for a while. Tony turned and took his way to the door. Now I could ask him about the girl and the note.
Yes? - He stopped and looked at me.
It was the moment but for some reason I just smiled.
- Have... a nice evening, OK?
Yes - he said - And you.
And then he left the bakery.
I cleaned up the remaining dishes, packed my stuff and grabbed the last cinnamon roll that was left. I left the bakery and took a slow walk back home. The summer evening air was very refreshing and calming. Eating the cinnamon roll I was thinking about the girl, the note and the universe. I was really hoping to find out more about this story.
Sadly the happenings of the universe have decided decided that it was not meant for me to meet Tony, ever again.