We couldn’t pierce the morning mist, even with Missy’s high-powered LED flashlight. She said perhaps it’s worthless during the daytime. We trudged along the beachside boardwalk to get in our daily walk. Diabetes doesn’t resolve itself and we both like to hum in our heads as we push down thoughts of hot cinnamon buns from the bakery we pass by every single goddamn time.
Which way we turn now is determined by our desire for the ocean view or the dismantlement of our self-will. On this misty morning, only our noses had the full resources of our senses. The tempting, cloyingly sweet aroma sent a warning that I would need my insulin injection. Our noses hunting for more cinnamon and sugar blunted our senses of vision along with the mist. We stumbled on an uneven tile and I muttered for the next sixty seconds about how the city has probably been taxing our retirement pension for years for repairs on that tile but never got around to fixing it. Probably sent a lot of public workers’ kids to college with those ill-gotten repair funds. No excuse for crumbling infrastructure when the nation turned one man’s labor into one thousand.
Missy granted me another sixty seconds for ranting, “It’s the damn corrupt system and the siphon. The great straw that the parasites suck laboriously all day the first chance they get at it. Parasites. All we want is to spend our peaceful old age by the sea to remind ourselves that from dust to dust is man’s fate. And that the mighty ocean can make all men’s accomplishments seem so small.”
But it’s misty today. The ocean can only be heard and the currents have also decided to calm down to turn their attention to the heavenly scent coming from the bakery. Extra butter, we think. They must be making croissants now after the cinnamon rolls. Croissants don’t have much sugar right? And the fat must surely slow down the absorption of glucose from the croissant itself. I reminded Missy that I stayed up late one evening to watch a documentary on making the traditional French croissant by hand. It definitely appeared the ratio of butter to flour was in the butter’s favor. And I couldn’t remember their using much sugar.
Suddenly, I realized we’re walking through the aisles of the bakery. The portly attendant muddled a hello as he strained with the heavy plastic basket of fresh tarts as he quickly loaded the display tables. How did we end up here? And where did Missy suddenly get a tray where she loaded a small mountain of desserts and breads? Who would eat all of those? We found ourselves outside the store, one paper bag each. Filled to the brim.
We sat on our favorite bench. Looked out into the mist. Quiet. Just us. Both nibbling on a croissant. See? Not much sugar, if any. But the butter will kill you, she says. And we wait for the mist to clear. Just watching and breathing. It’s a nice retirement. We finally got to have our time together. Certainly lucky for us. Wasn’t quite so sure what would happen when I went first into the mist and you were still on the other side. But after the last of the insulin ran out, it was finally time for you to let the final breath go.
Do you think our children and grandchildren are seeing the same view? They should be on the beach right about now. See, remember our carvings on this bench? So naughty, but no regrets now since we know how to find our favorite spot again. Oh, for certain they should be able to smell the cinnamon rolls.
They’ll be saying, see that’s what did granddad in at the end. But at least he went out happy. That’s good. We’re certainly lucky to still have the bakery on this side too.