Very few people need a reason to eat a piece of cake. I am not one of them. However, today I had one. Reason or not, I’ve easy access to delicious cakes and pies these days in Degerloch.
Often in the afternoons when I’m done with my work, I glance out of my window and there it is, lite up in sunlight these days, decorated with daisies for the Spring. It is a bakery. For some reason I thought of referring the bakery as ‘she’. Indeed she has been more of a friend since a year and a half now. I go down to her and ask for a ‘kuchen’. Generally it is ‘Johannisbeerekuchen’ I ask for, but I never realized it is seasonal thing. I also ask for Kirschkuchen, Apftelkuchen or a simple jam doughnut – a Berliner they call it here.
It is a quintessential German family run place and the youngest woman behind the counter seems to be in her 20s. Once she was surprised that I ordered a piece of pie with liquor in it. I obviously have South Asian skin colour. She almost warned me about the sherry, associating a stereo-type with me. It had been six months since I had been going there. These women behind the counter are a judgmental crowd. They raise eyebrows when I buy a Brioche. I could avoid the place. But as long as the pie tasted good, it didn’t matter.
There are bouts when I eat ‘healthy’ food. I hadn’t been there in a while. Today, I was mourning some bad news. The news wasn’t so bad, but bad enough to eat a piece to feel good. Who knew I was about to get some smile on the side of my pie today! When I walked in there, the girl cheered up. She told me they had Johannisbeerekuchen. I deserved my piece of pie, a pick-me-up. But she remembered I loved Johannisbeere. She knew that part of me. I was no longer a stranger to her. So what if she didn’t know my name. She didn’t know what was bugging me. But she had still made me forget all my worries. I am no longer a stranger here.