So begins a period of renewal seeded like the wispy fibers strewn from a schoolgirl’s wish. A wildflower, with no plan or purpose but to grow by the direction of the wind. By the time I have finished my classes, I will have travelled more than 18,000 miles on a journey shared with you. My son will be my apprentice. Food will be the subject. Joy will be the curriculum.
I finished my workday and packed up my computer. My flight arrived early. A taxi waited at the curb. The sun was setting on the city and the warm air was tempered as the daylight ended earlier. I arrived at my sister’s apartment a few blocks from the spire of the Freedom Tower and the Hudson River. A nameless anxiety clung to me like sweat as oddly placed as on cold palms. There was no catalyst for fear. I was home. Yet it lingered as a nondescript haze that I had to push away.
My uniform and toolkit were to be there before me, but when I got to her apartment I was the first to arrive. No spatula or microplaner awaited me. I had no coat other than the purple leather one I carried with me. The list of supplies for school was nearly 75 items and as specific as a 2″ and 4″ pastry brush, 6.5″ x 1″ knife cover, 2 oz. ladle. It was 8pm on a Friday. My first class was to begin in 13 hours. I imagined planting myself in jeans and a black tee shirt next to a sea of pristine white coats soiling the first class like graffiti on a newly painted wall. Sur la Table was opened until 9pm. Like two manic homeless women at a buffet we plowed through the store with our baskets. “What’s a reamer?” she yelled. “Have you seen the scales?” I countered. Our baskets piled high as the saleswoman patiently fielded our questions. The receipt for our purchase was 41″ long, as measured by my newly acquired ruler. Despite the chaos, I felt a peculiar stillness. And I knew then that I had arrived.