While the first stage of our journey was all about the process, the second leg of our path becomes focused on the goal.
After what seems like both hours and minutes, Jen and I walk off the Brooklyn Bridge and are enveloped in the sounds of the city. As we reach ground level, we are submerged in the vibrations of buildings, traffic, and people striding towards their destinies. We return to the land of people who are “going somewhere.”
Pausing at a corner, Jen pulls out a thick book of street maps, our path no longer guided by a bright white line. We weave down streets, past tables of art & jewelry, books and food, all enticing, but not the treasures we seek.We continue to tell stories as we walk, but they are contracted and interrupted by our need to navigate around parked cars and fire hydrants. Stepping into the street, we are loudly admonished by a policewoman, and must pause in both our story and our path again.
The road turns to cobblestones, and we know we are getting close. A street of bright new shops greets us, but we pass them all, not fooled by their attempts at antiquity and charm.
Then, at the next intersection, we see a little yellow cart. There is a short line of people waiting. We glide towards them, carried on the aromas of sugar and baked dough. We have reached the Wafel Cart.
Having seen the cart first on TV, and then in my dreams for weeks, I am prepared when it’s my turn to order. I get the Liege wafel with speckuloos and strawberries, and Jen follows suit. We watch the smiling young man hustle around the small cart, making our wafels while putting the finishing touches on others. I find myself becoming impatient for the first time on this journey, twitching and hopping in wait for my wafel, like a puppy eyeing a treat out of reach.The young, hip wafelista hands me a warm box with a golden waffle inside, as precious package that I handle carefully. We sit under an umbrella at a table that has probably seen many of these joyous moments. I carefully slice a bite of wafel, spread, and berries, and take my first bite. The wafel is chewy, sweet, and warm; the spread a buttery cookie-flavored creaminess; and the strawberries’ tartness add a bright crispness to the overall gooey splendor. I take another bite, savoring the tiny bursts of sugar, the slight crunch of the crusty edges, and the creamy density of this decadent snack.
We eat slowly, enjoying the moment. And then, all of a sudden, we are done, left with our little cardboard boxes, and a new memory.
After our journey across the bridge, past the vistas of the metropolis, through the warrens of city streets, this small sugary bundle might seem a bit underwhelming. But, I promise you, it is the perfect sweet reward.