My name is Kazutaka. It's not a particularly unique name. It is just a name my mother gave me before she died. When people ask that conversation starter question, what's your name? That's what I tell them. There is never any unusual expression that crosses their faces, perhaps a pleasant smile and their own introduction, but nothing more.
I don't really have a family name. I don't know my father or any true blood relative who could point me in the right direction. I don't particularly care either. I never offer one unless absolutely necessary. It says my family name is Hiroue, however, on my I.D. I need it for work.
For three years now, I have had a specific routine for every day of the week. I hardly change it, except for rare circumstances. Trust me though they are rare.
I wake in the early morning around six. I take a shower then brush my teeth and then dress for work. I waste a few minutes staring at myself in the mirror. Dull dark hair that hangs limp to my ears, sad eyes, unfortunate pale skin, thin and lanky build, and a lame height of 5'6"; all of it pretty much sums me up. I can never find the right size suit. It's rumpled and looks like a size too big for my scrawny excuse for a male form. I look like your average no-body and I suppose I am.
Not that I am so depressed despite my "sad eyes" that I am thinking of suicide or something equally idiotic as that; far from it. I just know my life isn't sunshine and rainbows. Really no point in putting up false pretenses and thus I don't. I just do what I know and live this life on re-wind. I'm surprise I don't experience deja-vu everyday.
I leave my small home at about 6:30 or a little over. From there I walk to the end of my street and around the corner to my favorite place. I can never go a day without going to this special shop. Every time I open the door and hear the ringing of the bell that declares my entry, a weight seems to lift off my shoulders and my nostrils fill with sweet scents.
You must have guessed by now that this particular store is a bakery, a French bakery to be exact. Now I am not really a sweet tooth but just have this soft spot for a certain flavor. It is a flavor that can be sweet or sour or both. This place makes the best Lemon Drop Sugar cookies and Lemon Crème Cake. During the week I get the former and on Saturdays I indulge in the latter. The bakery is unfortunately closed on Sundays.
The sign outside reads La Patisserie, it is French I know this but I am not sure exactly of it's meaning. I have yet to ask.
It is owned by a single man fairly close to my age and he is also the reason why I go to this place almost every day. He is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
Upon my entrance every morning, he smiles at me while he is putting new pastries and cookies into the display case. It is a smile that wrenches my heart. "The usual?" He'll ask. I only nod; I hardly ever exchange many words with him. He will go about preparing a dozen of my cookies into a white paper bag while I watch discreetly from the corner of my eyes. He folds the top and hands it over across the counter his smile never wavering. I in return offer the yen, which is always the same amount so I know before he even says though he always does. I never smile back at him but he doesn't seem to notice. I wish I just would, but I can never make myself do it. I don't understand why.
He then will wish my day well and wave as I leave, I sometimes feel his eyes on me but it could just be my imagination. After that I hurry to catch the next train at the closest station to work.
I sit at my desk and wait till the hands of the round clock on the wall seem to cut it vertically in half. Basically when the short hand is on the 12 and the thin one on the 6. Lunchtime. I immediately peer around as if expecting someone to come along to prey on my precious treats. Then I proceed to remove them one by one and indulge myself. I always take my time, savoring each taste. It's so good it takes all my might not to moan out in the pleasure. That would be far too embarrassing. Though would anyone notice the sad ordinary young man moaning over lemon flavored sugar cookies?
God, the lemon...the lemon...THE LEMON!
Perhaps I am a little eccentric. Just a little.
Today is Saturday and on these days I give myself the luxury of sleeping in an hour earlier. Then I wake at 7:00 and do the usual shower, teeth, and dress. I wear more casual clothes during the weekend of course. They are never anything overly fashionable or noticeable. Just a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and maybe my navy blue parka or a cotton jacket with hood depending on the weather.
I head out and take the subway train to a market to shop for groceries. I always do this, which you might have guessed. I need to re-supply for next week. I get what I need and sometimes one or two things I want. After I get my shopping done, its time for my sweet treat ritual. However this day did not go as I have planned for the last few years.
I entered the bakery as if it were automatic. I didn't see my beautiful baker anywhere, unfortunately. I assumed he was in the back preparing more bake goods. I take my usual spot at a table near a window. I sometimes feel like I am the only one who comes here. Every time I'm here I see no one else except the baker. Do I ward them off? Do I pollute the shop with my ordinariness that no one bothers with this little bakery? It seems plausible to me.
I set my bags of groceries to the side and wait patiently for him. I hope he comes soon. My prayers seem to be answered because I hear movement and he emerges from the back through swinging doors. He seems surprised at first to see me and smiles. I nearly melt right there. He always has such a warm and sweet aura about him. And he is far from ordinary or plain.