Thud! My fingers hit the glass so hard I swear everyone in the café heard. I can’t reach through it but still claw at the case with mindless desperation.
They sit there in a perfect stack. Their tops bulge and they balance precariously on the ribbon of flaky pastry wrapped around their center. I count 5 layers of ultra-thin dough and swear my tongue-tip is touching the glass at this point. I don’t care. The smell of their buttery flour richness is so thick I want to grab it from the air and stretch it in a taffy-pull arc across my face, licking every inch in an orgy of gluten gluttony.
The price flag reads $3 / 302 cals. Depression has a calorie count.
My stomach rumbles. I’ve had half an apple all day. The teenage girl working the counter opens the cabinet, pulls the plate out and, with a torturer’s smile, sets it on the carousel in front of me.
Kids can be so mean.
My mouth drops into a dopey O shape and all I can think of is shoveling 2 or 3 of them into my mouth at once. Right here. Right in front of all these customers, letting the flakes explode across the entire counter in a French baking pyroclastic nuclear blast of indulgence.
The older woman behind me looks concerned as a sound comes from my stomach that too closely resembles the plea of a basement kidnap victim.
“They’re good! You should have one!” she says in a voice that reminds me of my mom and the reason I wore 37” jeans in 8th grade.
“She’s not real! She’s not real!” I tell myself.
A timer dings behind the counter, followed by the whoosh of an oven opening. It takes seconds for the smell of freshly baked croissants to assault my nostrils and give my stomach a Rocky Balboa beating in a movie where he loses. The summer-break Marquis de Sade sees this, bites her bottom lip, takes the price flag off the top, wipes it with her hand and scribbles: 50% off.
I think some spit just escaped and spilled onto the glass.
From behind me: “Are you going to order something?” There’s a queue of 10 waiting and I hadn’t even noticed. I wipe the slobber from my shirt, let my hands fall to my side in defeat and place my order.
Grumbling, “Tea. I’m on a diet.”