Erode, Heart, Observe – Three Word Wednesday, 9/7/2011
“Twenty years isn’t all that long.”
“It’s more than a lot of people get.” Stephane lifted three loaves of bread out of the oven on the peel, put them on the cooling rack and turned to look at his brother. “I can’t believe you’re walking away from something this good because it’s only going to last the rest of your life.” He shook his head and moved to the next oven. “Besides, she’ll probably outlive you. So what are you worried about?”
Philippe stared at Stephane. “Thank you. I feel much better now.”
Stephane shrugged and grinned. “Well… you were the one who was crying doom. I thought perhaps you’d like some company.” He observed his elder brother fondly, as Philippe carefully wrote birthday wishes on the cake he was decorating. “Look, mon frère, you have two choices as I see it. Risk your heart – marry this lady you’ve been wooing all this time with tiny desserts and sweet words – or spend the next twenty years alone.”
“After Suzanne –“ Philippe stopped. He didn’t have to say any more.
His brother leaned back against the sink. “I know,” he said softly. “You locked your heart away, kept it safe from wind and weather, careful to never let time, life or love erode it. And what has it gotten you?”
“Not hurt.” Philippe retorted, finishing the lettering with a deft flourish of the pastry bag full of frosting.
“And not living, either. Not really.” He put up a hand to stop the older man. “And you know it.”
“Stephane, if I do it, if I ask her and she says ‘yes’, will you–?”
“Stand up with you? Need you ask?” The grin reappeared, wider than before.
“Then I will.” He met his brother’s eyes, nodded once and left.