Sprakling Lights This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 9, 2012
It was a gift. She carried it in a little white box with pink ribbon and delivered it to me. When I peered inside, it smiled back at me: a buttery-yellow cookie, cut out in the shape of the Eiffel Tower.

For two years, we stumbled and stuttered our way through the French language. We finally mastered the foundation of le imparfait, le passé compose, et le conditionnel. The gift marked our graduation into year three.

But the cookie represented more than just my fascination of French culture. It was dusted with sparkling sugar crystals, each twinkling like the city lights of Paris. In Paris, a girl could waltz through the Luxembourg Gardens and float on the gentle waters of the Seine. The outdoor cafes would ring with the clinking of wine glasses, toasting the beauty of love.

French culture entranced me. As the homeland of the world’s greatest artists and poets, France seduced that part of my soul that adored anything written, spoken, or painted with romance. I was a fool for its beauty.

When I took my first bite of that buttery-yellow cookie, it saddened me to destroy something so brilliantly crafted. Someone had labored over its sugary dough. Someone had trimmed the cookie into a glistening tower and placed it in an oven until its edges became lightly toasted. But I knew the chef would create more beautiful pastries. Life is too enchanting for an artist to stop. Even tragedy has a bitter beauty woven into its fabric. And so long as life is beautiful, the soul will find a means for expressing it.





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