I am insipired to write today, an exercise I have tried a few times, where I attempt to put myself into the shoes of a profession I have never, ever done to create a scene. I have a friend in chef school right now, and thinking about what she will be doing in her classes provided this to my Mind’s Eye.
I gave up trying to find something interesting in my life of late to tell you about, so I will let Alice have some time this early morning.
With each separation of the layers of pastry dough, she felt as if her life was unfolding before her, as always, in a signifigant moment. How she loved the feel of the many-layered phyllo under her hands, buttered and ready. Already she had made danishes and brioche with the same dough batch, the aroma of fresh-baked butter and sugar wafting to her, giving her a contact high of energy.
Her feet ached, her arms ached, and she hefted the sheet of dough over onto the floured cutting table, carrying it draped like lead, waddling from the effort, a massive smile to her red-ruddied face. But oh! The ache was good! It was real! What would she do if not this? What would she be if not this?
She looked at the clock. It said 3:08, and then changed to 3:09. These turnovers had to be done by five, and as she picked up the pastry cutter, she put one hand on the back of her neck and cracked it. She couldn’t disappoint all the hungry breakfast people, could she?
“Time to rise!” she shouted happily into the empty kitchen, her voice bouncing off the bread mixer, the double door fridge, the big steel basin sink, the enormous ovens in a row on the far side of the expanse. She smiled, listening to the echo, the pastry cutter zinging along, slicing perfectly pressed pastry dough into neat, tidy squares.
In the dim glow of the flourescent lights, she cut, folded, filled, and placed, humming and singing off-key, dancing in place to her own songs. As she brushed the butter and egg on top of the pastries, she flipped the silicone brush with the flair of a Cordon Bleu master, dabbing with the affection of someone with love for what they did. She danced with a complete disregard for form or function, unless happiness could be considered one or the other.
As she danced, and sang, and laughed, he watched her from the side of the windows facing in. He watched her laughing, spinning with bowls of custard, raspberries, and ganache. He felt her joy at every moment, her apron a medley of chocolate, jam, and buttered finger wipes. She had flour on the tip of her nose, and wisps of hair escaped around her cheeks, dusted ever so slightly with icing sugar. He wanted to be there with her, feel her passion for her job, feel the energy she had for life first-hand, instead of through glass. He once had that too, long ago.
She was a breath of fresh air in this kitchen. She had stolen his heart the first morning he watched her, and every night since, he had gone to bed, anticipating the next morning, seeing her, watching her, working with her. He had loved her from that moment, he knew. He wanted to rip her hairnet off, fling her apron aside, and make love to her, covered in flour and butter and sugar, and hear her laugh as they basted each other the way she basted her pastries. His dreams were filled with her sparkling eyes, her happy voice, her passionate spirit.
If he bit into a pastry she had made, he could taste her love for her job. He could imagine her making them, her eyes and footsteps dancing.
He looked at his watch. Four AM. He sighed, tied on his own apron, and pressed his palm to the door to walk in. Her dancing and singing would stop now, her passion reverting to that of professional baker and happy employee. He wanted so badly to tell her he watched her, and that it was ok for her to continue to work with wings on her feet, and mischief in her eye. But, he was afraid she would not like that. She was far to shy with him to ever step away.
He flipped the high lightswitch to turn on the remainder of the lights, signalling his entrance, giving her the time she needed to come down from her happiness into the real world again. The world he wished he could leave behind, so as to stay in hers a few moments longer.
“Good morning, Boss!”
“Good morning, Alice.”