The Baker

I see him sometimes as I walk past on my way home. Most often he is in the back of the shop, out of sight and it is usually the two women I see, the ones who serve. They both have ponytails, one is a slightly heavier build than the other. Once or twice I’ve seen him drive them there in his car. But I’ve also seen the thinner girl walking to work from a house along South Road. It’s not that I am inordinately interested in them per se. It’s more what they represent, the authenticity of their chosen labour. They are making and selling bread. And have continued to do so throughout the epidemic. It is needed. It is necessary. It is worthy. He has a bald head and is a large, bulky man. He looks kind, not given to great expressions of feeling. He wears a large white apron over his pale blue tee shirt. When I walk past at 3.30 am they are often already there. Armies of tall cooling racks are already lined up with bread. Has he baked through the night? It was the smell initially that stirred my interest. It was a comfort, especially in the rain and cold. Now I like to walk past the lit shop, it’s door open in the warmth. I walk through the fug of yeast smells and feels cheered.