Jane’s Way

Jane stepped out to her front porch. The gulf breeze wafted on the air on this cool February morning. Soon Spring heat would settle over the island, but for today, the weather was pleasant.

She donned her bicycle helmet. It had a soft straw cover, befitting a woman of leisure, which she apparently became when she retired. A vibrant sash encircled the brim; she switched these to coordinate with her outfit. Today’s was hot pink, matching her capri pants and her brightly patterned shirt.

She stepped off her porch and walked along side the wax flowers and grasses that graced the front of her little cottage, until she reached the one car garage. After a few punches on the access pad, the garage opened. She ducked in, barely missing the bottom of the door with her hat, then returned with her bike in hand.

It was a simple three-speed beach rider, with oversized wheels, a wide seat, and two saddlebag style baskets at the rear. The aqua blue bike even had a cup holder on the handlebars to hold her iced cold… water. Well, that’s what the kids thought anyway!

Jane lowered the garage door, dropped her wallet and keys in one of the baskets, and mounted the bike. Soon, the breeze was in her face, and she lazily paddled down to the town center. A few times, she kicked her Sketchers covered feet out like a little kid, enjoying the ride.

She arrived at her first stop. As she dismounted, she took in a deep breath. The smells of fresh baked patisserie and bread filled her lungs. It was time for breakfast.

A small crowd gathered at the entrance. Two children ran about their parents and grandparents. The young mother looked up and smiled as Jane approached. “Nice hat! I love it!”

Jane smiled back and responded, “Thanks! Have to stay stylish in my old age.” Then she winked at the girl. “Are you already on the list?”

The group all nodded. Apparently they were all together. So Jane slipped by them and entered the cafe.

“Hi Jane! Come on in and have a seat. They’re waiting for us to put some tables together.” The hostess waved her to a quiet booth out of traffic. “Your usual tea?”

“Yes, thank you, Sarah,” she replied as she loosened and removed her helmet, placing it beside her on the booth.

As she waited, she scrolled through her phone, making comments on her nieces, nephews, and other family posts of pictures. It’s how she stayed connected living so far away.

Her tea arrived and she gently picked it up and took a sip. “Perfect!” She mumbled to herself as Sarah busied herself setting up the table for the large party and escorted them in.

Sarah returned to Jane. “Let’s get your order in,” as she tilted her head to the large party, “We can’t have our favorite customer waiting.”

Jane looked over the menu she had already memorized from her frequent trips and selected a decadent eggs printanier with a side pain au chocolat. “I know, not my typical breakfast.” She winked at Sarah before she wandered back to the kitchen.

Jane returned to her phone and found today’s word games on the New York Times app. She tapped away at the screen, solving the mini. Then she heard a little voice to her side.

A little girl, not more than six, laid her syrup covered hands on Jane’s helmet. “I like your hat. Do they make them in my size?”

Jane looked over and paused. Many would be annoyed to see sticky hands touching their things. But no, not Jane. She just smiled at the cherub face. Sure, she had to clean her helmet, but the angelic smile melted her childless heart.

“I don’t know. But let me see.” Jane clicked away at her phone and found the site. Sure enough they did. “Here, show this to your mom.” She handed her phone over without a second thought.

“Mommy, they do!” She squealed as she toddled over and showed the site to her family.

Her mom sounded surprised and smiled at Jane. “Thank you!” The little girl wandered back and returned her phone.

“Sure, anytime!” Then Jane turned back to her table as Sarah delivered her food. “Thanks, Sarah. Looks delicious!”

Jane savored every bite of her breakfast, then languished over her tea, reading up on today’s events on the island. Not much happens on Tuesdays here, so it would be just another day in paradise.

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