A change in perspective was all Ann needed. As the plane hurdled down the runway, ascending through a layer of gauzy clouds reaching an abyss of pale blue nothingness Ann took a deep breath then expelled the air from her lungs bit by bit. It hurt to breathe so slowly, it hurt to be quiet, to silence her breath so no evidence of relief was obvious to the couple seated next to her. She did it anyway.
Four hours later she was in a different time zone, breathing thinner air while standing on an empty train platform. Waiting. Ann could feel the strength of the mountain sun on her pale Northeast skin. She thought for sure the tan, athletic woman sitting on the bench could hear her skin sizzle, as if announcing I’m not from here. This feeling unsettled Ann. She liked to blend in.
The train pulled into the station making no sound as it came to a stop. The doors opened with ease. No one rushed out or pushed her aside, swatting at her like a fly. Inside the train smelled fresh with no hint of old urine or forgotten food containers, a welcome change to the trains she knew at home. Ann chose the window seat.
[Always choose the window seat. His simple instructions resonated with Ann. Most of the advice she received from well-meaning friends and lovers caused her belly to burn, her jaw to tighten as if Ann’s body knew before her mind she would never take their advice anyway.]
She plopped down in seat, rearranged her shirt, pulled on her too tight jeans until satisfied and somewhat comfortable. Across the isle three women from Minnesota, friends, chatted about margaritas, Mexican food they couldn’t wait to devour and the Zach Brown concert they would attend with full bellies and foggy brains. Ann listened to them chat for a while, a little jealous of their intimacy, yet relieved to be alone. Unrecognizable in a city she barely knew. Free. And when one of the women turned and smiled at Ann, a gesture of kindness to most, Ann turned and faced the window. The stranger’s smile seemed to say I see you, Ann. The last thing she wanted today, and yet the only thing she wanted most days. Careful what you wish for her mother said. You just might get it. Ann picked at her nail bed until it bled.
The train picked up speed and the station disappeared. The land lay this way and that appearing painted and untouched. Ann found the flat earth, dry and scorched from the sun, the sapphire sky, the still snow-covered Rockies in the distance disorienting. It hurt to look at the mountains, to see something new and beautiful, after so many years of the same. The mountains have a funny way of drawing you back to yourself when you have strayed too far.
Ann put on her sunglasses, hoping her eyes would stop aching. Soon her stop would be announced. She would exit the train, breathe in the mountain air. Across the tracks her sister, Gracie, would be waiting for her, eager and beautiful in the world she created thousands of miles away from Ann. They would hug. Gracie’s hair would smell like the baked snickerdoodles they ate as kids, weed, and sweat from her morning run. Ann relieved to be in her arms again would hug longer than expected.
All of this would happen or none of it. Ann hadn’t decided yet.
Key Lime Ginger Doodles
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
Recipe adapted from BraveTart
2 + 1/3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 + ½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons of key lime juice
1 large egg
¼ cup raw sugar
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1-2 tablespoons key lime juice or to taste
Pinch of salt
Directions for cookies:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and ginger in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat on medium speed the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula once or twice. Reduce speed and add the egg. Mix on medium speed until combined. Next add the key lime juice. The mixture may curdle but don’t worry it will come back together! Reduce the speed and add the dry ingredients. Mix on low-speed until just combined.
Use a cookie scoop (I used a medium scoop or 1+1/2 tablespoon scoop) to form round balls. Roll the balls in the raw sugar. Divide the dough between the two cookie sheets, twelve cookies per baking sheet. Bake the cookies until puffy and lightly golden brown, about 8 minutes. (Be sure not to over bake so check at 6 minutes!) Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cookies cool, make the key lime icing. In a small bowl mix together the confectioners’ sugar, key lime juice and salt until completely smooth. Add more juice if needed. Add more sugar for desired consistency, if needed. Set aside.
Once the cookies are completely cool, decorate with key lime icing as desired. Enjoy!
***Cookies taste best the day they are made but will last in air-tight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.***
5 Can’t Miss Cookie Links
Looking for a unique spin on a shortbread cookie? Check out Food 52s honey-butter chip shortbread cookie recipe. Honey, butter and potato chips? How can you go wrong!
Vegan shortbread cookies do exist. Head to Love & Lemons for their vegan almond shortbread cookie recipe.
I love chocolate and ginger together especially in cookie form. Head to i am baker and check out Amanda’s chocolate caramel ginger cookie recipe. Don’t wait until the holidays to make them!
Celebrate summer with mojito cookie bars! Go Bold with Butter has the recipe for you. Check it out!
S’mores cookies by Sweet Paul magazine claims to be better than sex. Curious? Head here for the recipe.