By Katelyn Parker

The smell was her favorite part. She loved breathing in the scent of freshly baked bread and pastries. It calmed her down, made her feel relaxed, made her feel at home. It was the place she spent most of her time, the place that gave her the impression that everything was right with the world.

That little bakery down the street.

She doesn’t remember how she found it. Maybe she went walking one day and stumbled across it. Maybe she was hungry and that was the place nearest to her with food she could afford.

Maybe she just wanted to get away.

Though, it surprised her, really, when she came across that little bakery down the street. However she came across it didn’t matter more than the fact that it seemed as though it was cut off from the rest of the world. Valiant in it’s own way. Blocking out the pain and suffering and evil that the outside world emitted.

When she stepped through the threshold of that small bakery, she felt refreshed. Like all her worries were washed away and replaced with chocolate chip cookies and rye bread. It was prodigious in her eyes, never having seen something so peaceful and remarkably calming in her life.

The bakery wasn’t large in size, just a small building tucked away in a corner of the loud, bustling city. The aura was warm and homey compared to the cold, metallic place around it. Laughter resonated from the inside, the old couple and their son that ran the shop playing a game of cards while waiting for customers. They welcomed her in with smiles adorning their faces, genuinely happy. It was so foreign to her, getting treated so well by random strangers.

They asked her what they could help her with, what she would like.

“Anything,” she responded. The old woman behind the counter held up a finger, asking her to wait before disappearing into the back. When she returned, she held out a large bag of warm cookies and bread, much more than the money she was paying with was worth.

“Growing girls like you need food to keep them strong,” the woman croaked out, with an infectious smile that the girl couldn’t keep from copying. She left the quaint shop feeling content and happy, feelings she hadn’t felt in a long while.

She returned the next day, and the next, and the next, and as many days as she could. Everytime she was welcomed with warm smiles and warm people, saying warm words while feeding her warm bread. That was where she was happiest, where she felt most like herself. Each visit only augmenting her love for that place, that family.

That little bakery down the street.

I wrote this piece for a reason that really isn’t impactful at all; just a vocabulary project for my English class freshman year. But still, something about it makes me happy, and it’s a work I’m quite proud of.