Baker’s Man Hearts

Pink Frosted Donut

He rolled over to hit the top of the clock that screamed for him to wake. He took a deep breath and rubbed his hands over his sleep encrusted eyelids. Slowly, his legs moved over the side of the mattress, warm toes quickly finding slippers waiting to be occupied. He sat for a just a moment, allowing his yawn to finish stretching the corners of his mouth. Another deep breath and a slight push off the bed sent him in motion toward the bathroom. He shuffled across the hardwood floor with muffled heel scuffs. Four in the morning comes too quickly he thought as he searched for the light switch. 

The sudden brightness made him contort his face as he snapped his eyes shut. He allowed his eyes to take their time to adjust. With a few quick blinks, he was staring at his reflection. The youngest looking thing on his well-aged face, were the two pools of cinnamon, flecked with green star-bursts set well into deep crow’s feet and permanent dark circles. His pearl white hair, sheared close to his head. A style he kept from his military days some 70 years prior. Closely examining his weathered face, he decided after swiping the back of his fingers under his chin, that he could sneak another day without a shave. Two days ago he nicked a spot which bled for hours. Damn Coumadin.

He carefully pulled the sheets and blankets back to the top of the headboard and neatly tucked them under the pillow. Moving to the undisturbed side of the bed, he began to dress with the clothes he set out the night before.

Breakfast was simple; a cup of black coffee and a fried egg with a piece of toast on a white paper plate. This was the worst part of his day. He did not like the quiet and for the past three years it had been unbearable. He glanced at the empty chair where his beloved Helen would sit with him every day, her hands cradling her coffee cup as she sat across from him. This was the time of day they talked and laughed. They told stories and reviewed events that made up their daily life over breakfast rather than dinner. The life of a baker seemed to dictate this to be the norm.

Today was Valentine’s Day and he was sure to sell out of the bakery’s famed ‘Helen Hearts’. He created them just for her. Her sweet tooth was her one weakness and his frosted round confections were her favorite. He can still hear her sweet voice teasing him, “Now, Robert, don’t be stingy with those sprinkles! The kids love them!” Giving each donut another healthy dose of tiny sugared hearts, “I think it is YOU that loves them, not the kids!” he jested in return.

 
“Well, of course I love them! You made them!” she would giggle as she carried a tray out to the display counter. She loved to hand them out to the customers. Regulars would bring their children and she would get the biggest kick out of the wide-eyed reactions as they were handed a fresh donut encased in a thin wax paper square. The tots would poke out their tiny pink tongues and touch the soft icing, testing to see if they liked the flavor. A big smile would light up their face and a big lick across the top would follow. They always licked before they bit! This was always a happy day in the store. With all the comings and goings, Helen would forever end her good-bye with the phrase “Ok! Bye! See you ‘round, like a donut!” 

Robert grabbed his hat as he reached for the doorknob to the kitchen side door. Before leaving he paused, kissed his finger tips and gently placed them on the glass of the hanging picture of his late wife. “Love you. See you ‘round, like a donut.” He closed the door softly and stepped into the cool morning air.

————–

 

The above is a piece of fiction that is included in this week’s prompt for the Red Writing Hood. We were to write a piece, fiction or non-fiction, inspired by the delicious photo above. Word limit is 600. I was a tad over 600…

Constructive Critisism (Concrit) is always welcome. Thank you!

About Kelly Pugliano


Kelly is a lifelong foodie who shares her love of cooking, baking & writing about it on this blog. All recipes & photographs are made in her home kitchen or enjoyed during travels near & far. She has been featured on EverydayFamily.com, iBlog Magazine and Capital Region Living Magazine.

Comments

    • says

      Thanks! I wasn’t sure where this would go when I started typing…but this is where it chose to go. They are such a cute couple…I wish she was still handing out her special donuts!

  1. says

    I think it is sometimes the smallest gestures that make the biggest impact. For that reason, this was my fav line: “Damn Coumadin.” This was the instant where I felt like I understood your character.

    And what a sweet story.

    Stopping by from the red dress club.

  2. says

    I thought it was lovely. Sad, but lovely. I thought your character was very relate-able. I think every person that is married worries about the day that they will be living this.

  3. says

    Oh, hon, this totally moved me. This was really a great way to tie-in to the prompt, and what a touching story. Thanks for sharing it and giving us that small glimpse of this character. I hope someday we’ll get more of their history. It’d probably be a beautiful story to tell!

  4. says

    This was so sweet and heart-wrenching! The kind f love we all hope for, and the kind of pain we’re all afraid of!

    Your really captured and described the characters beautifully. I love them. And I’m teary. And apparently sappy. Who knew?!

    That last line: “Love you. See you ‘round, like a donut.” was a perfect shout-out to their sweetness and the prompt.

    Loved this, girl!

  5. says

    What a sweet story, I love this little old man you have created. My favorite line was “moving to the undisturbed side of the bed” it says so much.
    My only concrit would be that I got a little lost in the description of his eyes and had to reread. Overall I absolutely loved it and want to go keep that old man company.

  6. says

    Ooooh my heart melted and broke at the same time. What a wonderful story of love and sweetness. I could every scene in this piece. Seeing Helen and her hands around that coffee cup.

    My grandma used to wake us up every morning with a phone call and when we wouls hang up she wouls say “I kiss your picture a thousand times a day”..My heart gave a sigh of remeberance and conflicted joy as I read him touching her picture. This was brilliant.

  7. says

    I saw this couple at a light yesterday, watching her with her head laid back on a cushion in the car, him stroking her hand … and then its as though you wrote about them .
    Both made me cry.
    (and btw, btween you and me, I see no funk here!)

  8. says

    Kelly! I really really love this piece!

    It is so sad, but so heart-warming and lovely at the same time.

    This is my favorite paragraph:
    “Breakfast was simple; a cup of black coffee and a fried egg with a piece of toast on a white paper plate. This was the worst part of his day. He did not like the quiet and for the past three years it had been unbearable. He glanced at the empty chair where his beloved Helen would sit with him every day, her hands cradling her coffee cup as she sat across from him. This was the time of day they talked and laughed. They told stories and reviewed events that made up their daily life over breakfast rather than dinner. The life of a baker seemed to dictate this to be the norm.”

    It captures the love he had/has as well as the loneliness of losing his best girl.

    Simply lovely.

  9. says

    This was so so lovely. I loved the juxtaposition between the quiet loneliness of his bedroom and the bakery full of life with his late wife.

  10. says

    As I’m older and have lost people I love, this one touched my heart, but it also made me smile. I felt it’s not just a story about the death of his wife, but also about how he continues on making his donuts, including the special ones.

    I loved your descriptions. You made me see this man very well in my mind. I really liked how you described him getting up and particularly these words about his yawn “allowing his yawn to finish stretching the corners of his mouth.” Well done:~)

  11. says

    This is so beautiful, and such a clear picture which you painted with so few words. My heart breaks for the old man.

    I have only one question: His military days were 70 years prior – so he’d be 88 years old at least? I liked the addition of the Coumadin, but maybe the addition of an explanation of why he’s still working at such an advanced age would help, because I know my eyebrows shot up when I read that line.

    The memory of their playful banter was so sweet as well. I couldn’t help but think of my husband and how I can’t wait to make those sort of memories with him. Lovely!!

    • Kelly says

      Yes! He is 88! I guess in my mind I knew that it is his bakery and he is still able to work, so he does. He loves what he does…I guess I could have added that in there….
      Thanks! I’m glad you liked this story!

  12. says

    Such a sweet story, and I loved the end, with the touch to the frame. I pictured the old couple in “Up.”

    The descriptive paragraphs in the beginning were beautifully written, but for me, it was almost too much. I’d love to see them shortened and combined into one intro. The ending of the 2nd paragraph, “Damn Coumadin,” was perfect and spoke volumes.

  13. says

    You know how I feel about this already, but wow. I really love this story it’s definately a heart tugger. I like how you wove donuts into it so effortlessly. Seriously loving this post.

  14. says

    It was a beautiful story. You did a beautiful job conveying how lonely he must be.

    The undisturbed side of the bed was particularly touching.

    My only suggestion (and it’s small) is that I’m not sure you need all of the description at the beginning. My favorite part was the story–the background was interesting but didn’t grip me as much.

  15. says

    So sad, and so beautifully written.

    Being a total geek about stuff like that, I loved the Coumadin reference during his decision to skip shaving.

    And, though sad, I loved that they had a special “catch phrase.”

  16. Erin says

    OMG Now I am crying! It reminded me of my grandfather and grandmother and the special love they shared!

    And See you ’round like a doughnut….so adorable, so special, I Just adored this story!

  17. says

    I’m in tears.

    No. Seriously.

    This was such a tribute to a life of love and totally not what I expected when I started reading.

    I did want to highlight one line. It gave me such a strong visual that I snapped to your character’s side.

    “the two pools of cinnamon, flecked with green star-bursts set well into deep crow’s feet and permanent dark circles.”

    Perfect description.

  18. says

    This was heart-wrenchingly beautiful! I have tears in me eyes. My parents are getting older, so I could identify with the man. I felt as if I was in his home with him…well done!
    I thought the phrase “See you round-like a donut” added a sweet touch and is exactly what someone in that industry would say.
    Thanks for your kind commment on my blog. It was great reading yours.

  19. CDG says

    This was such a tender piece, I love the relationship between the baker and Helen, sweet but a little silly. You treated them well.

    I’m glad I read through the comments, too, because Mrs. Jen B hit the one that really yanked me out of the story–his age. Reading your response helped. When I was reading though, I actually stopped reading to figure it all out.

    I thought, too, that the story really begins in with the breakfast, this is where we get to the meat of your character and his relationship, which is the heart of the piece.

    I wonder if there might be a way to open with his breakfast, and weave back in some of the intro information, along with the fact that he’s the owner as well as the baker.

    Whatever you do, keep the line about his eyes. That reached out and grabbed me!

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