|The image that inspired the story, photographer unknown|
by Bonnie Ramsburg
I smelled the yeasty, mouthwatering scent of fresh-baked bread first. Inhaling as deeply as I could, I scanned the street to find the bakery from which I could purchase a loaf. The beauty of the leaves surrounding an open window, with a curtain billowing out when the breeze caught it, caught my attention. Through the window, I heard the infectious sound of a child giggling, intermingled with the lower tones of an adult's laughter. Moving closer to the window, I inhaled again, the enticing aroma of bread, cinnamon, vanilla and sweet indulgence was definitely coming from this window. I perused the area surrounding the window, but couldn’t find a door. I attempted to get the attention of the occupants through the only way I could see.
“Hello, the window!” I called out. The laughter and giggling stopped, and a woman’s face appeared, shadowed by the now still curtain.
“May I help you?” she asked.
“Excuse the intrusion, Miss,” I replied, “but I smelled the heavenly aroma of fresh-baked goods, and I was wondering if you sold them?” I caught a brief flash of a smile, which for some reason chilled me to the bone, as the breeze moved the curtain again.
“Not usually,” she told me, “but today, I will make an exception.”
“Where is the door, good lady, that I might purchase some of those delightful smelling goods?” I asked her.
“Just look beyond the leaves to the left of the window, good sir,” she replied. “You’ll find the door there if you are meant to.”
Confused, but becoming more and more bewitched by the beguiling smells coming from the window, I looked to the left as she had told me to. Surprised and a little bewildered, I noticed that there was indeed a door where before I would have sworn there wasn’t. I reached out to grasp the handle, but the door swung open before my hand could even touch it.
I entered into the gloomy entryway, where an elfin looking child of six or seven waited for me.
“Welcome to our home,” she said. “Follow me, please.”
I slowly followed, feeling as if this wasn’t the wisest choice I had ever made, but unsure as to why or how to exit the situation gracefully. We entered the kitchen from which the delightful smells were drifting and a homely looking woman was waiting for us.
She smiled at me and said, “Welcome to my kitchen young man. We’ve been waiting for the main dish to arrive.”