On A Red Brick Street

I’m sitting in the bakery.

This bakery, that I haven’t been to in almost a decade. With Douglas Adams trivia on the chalkboard, and cupcakes the size of my face.

It sits on a street paved with red bricks, a reminder of an earlier era, with little boutiques and shops and another cupcake place down the street.

It’s a beautiful place, the water right nearby, the air clean, the buildings so beautiful. It’s a place that screams of money, but with a vibrant energy that only those who are younger can bring.

And I think to myself, maybe it won’t be that different.

But, of course it is.

There is no longer trivia on the board, there is a sign boasting its lack of wifi, there is coffee served in the back and cookies line shelves in the front. There is still a place to sit, and the cupcakes are still there.

And I can’t help but think, you might’ve been here.

To see it.

To see it change.

To see it become what it is now.

Because it is a moment, if only briefly, of, this could have been your life.

And it’s not sadness, or regret, necessarily. It’s more of a wistful nostalgia.

For that moment, when you chose this instead of that. Turned left instead of right. Because where you are now is not where you thought you’d be, not where you a decade ago had planned.

Just like the walls of this place, you have changed.

Maybe, in another life, I walked along these streets again. I lived this. I came here, stayed here. And maybe I walked with friends, or a partner, who would laugh as frosting covered my nose. Maybe I’d do different work, sitting at this very stool.

But I probably would not be drinking milk in my tea.

And, again, it’s not regret.

It’s a wondering, about the life I almost chose.

And who’s to say which one is better, or worse.

It just is. A sign that we don’t always get the answers to the questions on our minds.

So, I will take this box of cake to the home I now have.

Say goodbye to those here.

And carry on, as any other day.

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