THERE WAS A SIGN in the window of Maximilian Godot's bakery. Help wanted, no experience necessary. Good pay, plus...Plus what? I imagined, hoped for, all the baked goods I could carry at the end of the day. I dreamed of tarts and donuts brought home each night, sugary bliss endlessly caressing my lips as lemony tea warmed me from the evening chill. I stepped inside, heavy wafts of Sri Lankan cinnamon tickled my nose and seemed to settle in the folds of my dress.
A tray of petits fours, tiny pink rosettes glistening, seemed sculpted by a Florentine master. Chocolate ganache icing was just then being spread along the sides of a tiered cake, by Max himself. He called to me and pointed the spatula as I closed the door, the entry bell tinkling for several moments.
"Are you going to be the one?" he asked, eyeing me. Strangely, it was almost as if he was waiting for me. He handed me a strange metal object. "This is the key to my success...it's a 1 kilogram weight..all of my exquisite ingredients, flour, sugar, butter, chocolate, must be perfectly weighed to get the results I'm famous for."
He tucked the weight into my hand. It felt heavier than it appeared. Max smiled broadly, as if he were presenting me with a jewel. "Believe me, if I entrust this weight to you, it will be a huge responsibility. You measure a bit too much, ruined..a bit too little...." He shrugged his shoulders.
He took the weight from my hand, and placed it back on the scale. "This was my grandfather's, and then my father's. And it earns me the Cake Guild Award year after year". He pointed to a golden Napoleon, (the Emperor, not the pastry) displayed on a glass shelf, a beam of ethereal light shining on it.
I slipped my yellow shawl off my shoulders, draped it on a bistro chair. It seemed to me that an aura was drawing us together. An inevitability. It wasn't an accident that I was here but fate or karma itself. I reached for the apron that Max was handing me. And I suddenly realized that now I was to be the keeper of the kilo. I had the job of weighting for Godot.