No Bread

It was twilight as the old man walked the dampened streets of Cincinnati. Most shops were closed at that time, but the old man knew his favorite bakery would still be open. It was only a few blocks from where he was, it was the shop with the small flight of stairs out front. The shop with the tiny tree that grew to the right of it. The shop with the bright light. The owner, a young Frenchman, always kept the store open later for the old man. For he was his only loyal customer who didn't buy bread from the supermarkets. As the old man walked alongside the grey city lamps, he steadily gravitated towards the center of the street and kept walking. There weren't any cars that night, the old man felt at peace in the lonely cold. As he walked, unworried, he whistled the tune that his mother had sang to him as a boy. He was unsure of who had sung it originally, but in the icy winds he felt warmth with the little tune and decided not question it's origin. Passing the post office, the billiard bar, and the coffee shop, the old man kept on whistling. Knowing the Parisian bakery would be turning up soon. It would be like it was every night, the old man would clutch the railing by the small flight of stairs as he sidled up to the bakery's front door. The young Frenchman would greet him with a tired smile, and offer him a sample of whatever the cake of the day was. He would then open the sliding glass cabinet, and point to a loaf of plump, golden raisin bread and say "Zees iz what you want, yez?" The old man would nod as the young Frenchman chuckled "Zee same every night, zee same every night". The old man's damp journey had come to an end, for he saw the tiny tree that grew to the right of the bakery. He came to the tree and as he approached the little stairs, he noticed that the bright light in the bakery was not on. He clutched onto the railing by small flight of stairs like he had always done, and sidled up to the bakery's front door. He turned the door handle to the right and to the left. Then to the right again and then to the left again. It was locked. He knocked lightly on the door once with his brittle, yellow hands. Then twice. Then he just stood there turning the doorknob, waiting for the young Frenchman to greet him with a tired smile, offer him a sample of whatever the cake of the day was, and watch him point to the raisin bread.

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