Cakes, Pies, and Clever French Pastries
Joan D. Cooper

Despite the rain, Robert dressed in his best civilian clothes to meet the saint. Her letters had chased him through Europe. She had written fewer than a dozen letters. After he was wounded, he read a book on pastries, thinking about the woman who wrote to him from the Saint Pierre Bakery in his hometown. He daydreamed of talking with her about pie crust or the perfect lemon curd. Robert learned to bake cakes, pies, and then clever French pastries using his right hand and the thumb of his left.

His thumb remained on what he thought could be a useless stump. Her miraculous bundle of letters had saved his life. He had been awake in the bunker, rereading one of her letters as the attack began. He was tucking the packet into the pocket of his jacket when pain bloomed in his chest.  

Cecelia Saint Pierre stared at the icon her grandmother fixed to the wall when the bakery opened. “Saint Peter? Please help . . .” She stopped speaking as a customer jingled the bell, and the front door swung open. The blast of damp air mixed with vanilla, butter, and heat. A hard-looking man stood, shaking a wet fedora but squinting at her. She smiled. “May I help you?”

“The sign in the window says you need help. With what?” She could tell he wanted to say more.

“Are you a baker?” He nodded, and her smile grew wider. “What extraordinary days,” she said. 

First published: November 2017
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