sweet little thing

a single picture can pull a tightly wound bundle of memories and shake them out, let them breathe again. i look at this photograph, and all sorts of pleasant details come tumbling down to me.

it was a spring afternoon in san francisco, and we had stopped in a tiny shoebox of a shop. inside, the papered walls were covered with flowers in rose and cream and the palest of greens. sunshine flooded through the windows. there were cellophane bags of cookies lined up in rows, ribbons round each one, and large glass jars filled with sweetly colored candies. like a child with precious allowance money in hand, i walked up to the counter and carefully made my selection. the pistachio macaron came nestled on a single sheet of wax paper, perfectly pink. we walked outside and paused beneath some trees, so i could savor all four bites of the cookie. they were delicious.

just a few minutes later, and we were on our way again – to peek into this store or that, a meal in this neighborhood, a stroll through that one. sights and steps stacking on top of each other like pages, until the book was closed, our trip ended. and now i am here, so many miles and so many months away from that little afternoon. but i take out this photograph and the memory of it blooms out before me, and i can smell the sweet scent of buttercream.

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