Elora’s Bakery was its usual busy self one Sunday afternoon nearing the end of summer. Most people flocked to the bakery for the superb cheesecake and comfortable couches, but that was not why two particular friends decided to meet there that day. They sat together in the window seat, their entire lives ahead of them, but moving in opposite directions. High school was finally over and while Josie was to head across the country to study art, Todd was staying home to pursue his passion for music. They made promises in that little bakery window to stay in touch no matter where life took them. Email every day, Josie said and Todd agreed; as often as they could.
As the years passed, Josie wrote to Todd about her semester abroad in Paris, her rejected pieces of artwork, and the boy who broke her heart. In return, Todd told her about touring with his band and the friends he gained and lost on the road. He mentioned briefly the intoxicating lure of liquor and Josie’s heart broke all over again. She responded with care and, as always, her email was signed “With love, Josie.”
Predictably as time went on the two friends slowly drifted apart. Josie still wrote on occasion, but Todd stopped writing almost altogether. He was too caught up in his life on the road to care about anything except the next city and his next drink. He kept drinking even when the tour was over. When the last of his friends had gone back home to their families or moved on to something else, Todd was still sitting in the bar, but now alone.
There were times when he thought about writing to Josie, just for someone to talk to, but he never knew what to say. And after three years of silence it didn’t feel right anymore. However, the loneliness finally became too much for Todd to handle; he didn’t want to feel lost anymore. There were no more excuses for not writing, so he did. He wrote about his journey, his failures; some old and some new. He expressed his highest hopes and most improbable dreams. Everything he felt was poured into that single email; loneliness, grief, regret, and most importantly, love. Todd didn’t expect anything in return after such a long time, so when his inbox informed him of a new email, he didn’t think it could be her. There was only one line in response;
Elora’s Bakery Sunday at 1:00 pm.
With love, Josie
On that following Sunday, the old bakery that had only recently been a memory came to life again before him. He took a seat by the door, his head turning around every time someone walked in.
At the sound of his name he spun in his seat to see Josie standing hesitantly in front of him. It was still his Josie, but older, jaded. She was untrusting, her heart having been broken one too many times. Unfortunately once by him.
But she had come. She was still there for him after all these years, after all he had done and all he hadn’t done too. He felt broken and making amends with her was his first step towards feeling whole once again.
The bakery had not changed. The cheesecake was still superb and the couches were still cozy. What had changed were the two individuals sitting on the couch in the window, no longer the naïve teenagers they had once been. And yet they sat there just like they had so many years ago, carrying with them the bruises of their pasts. It was those bruises that had shaped them into the people they had become and no matter how painful the wounds might once have been, Josie and Todd wouldn’t trade them for the world.