The Bakery

Harriet owned a bakery. She did not love or hate her bakery but had a rather complicit emotion towards it. This is why when it burned to the ground she felt like she had lost nothing, and that she had gained nothing either. Unfortunately for Harriet, she was inside the bakery when it decided to burst into tumultuous flames. Harriet was talking to her mother when a young man, medium height walked in. He had a face that could make a baby cry. Harriet quickly dismissed her mother’s inquiry about her lack of love for a man and hung up the phone. She did not trust the man that had just entered her store. Harriet was never the trusting type. When she was four, her father walked out on her and her mother. She felt as if a chunk of her heart had fallen into the pit of her stomach. She felt the same way when this awkward man entered her bakery. The man was selling ornamental soaps. His voice was kind and he spoke in a gentle manner. Harriet had no longer felt threatened by the man inside her bakery. She politely declined his offer for a rose coloured fish that smelled like peppermint leaves. They ended up chatting about his business and her bakery. They were interrupted by a young boy who just entered the store. He was jingling the change in his pocket loudly. The soap selling man recognized his cue and left the bakery. Harriet feeling jovial after her chat walked up to the boy and asked him if she could help him with anything. The boy said he was looking for bread rolls to eat with his mother’s cabbage soup this afternoon. Harriet went out back and pulled some fresh rolls from the oven. The boy selected his favourites and promptly paid. He scurried out of the store and left Harriet to ponder over the events of the day.

Later in the evening Harriet was counting her earnings from the cash register. The coins on her table had started to shake. She ignored it and carried on. The vibrations got worse until the oven racks began bouncing in their respected homes. Harriet knew what was coming and quickly hid under the table. She curled up into a ball and lay on the floor waiting for it to pass. The engines of the planes grew louder and the booms of their bombs drew nearer. Harriet braced herself as a shell dropped from a plane and landed in her display area. The building rocked and the roof collapsed. The Germans had begun their attack in France, although she had not expected it to come so soon. The planes flew overhead; there must have been hundreds of them. Harriet was buried under a pile of rubble and waited for the attack to end. No other bombs dropped on her building but there was a ferocious fire immediately in front of her. She managed to get out alive. She needed to leave Paris and get out of France. It was no longer safe for her. She travelled to the south of France and took a boat across to Africa. Her mother joined her a few weeks later and they both fell in love with a ship captain and a doctor, respectively.

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