6:15am. Dark this time of year in Germany. His room was dark too, because last night as he went to bed the fuse went out. It was midnight then, so he didn’t want to wake his host about it. And anyway all he had to do now was grab his things and go wait for the bakery next door to open.

In darkness he wound down the three spiraling flights of stairs and fumbled with the lock. He dropped the keys in the dish and clicked the door shut behind him. The next place over was the Bakery, opening in 4 minutes. Outside, lit only by the light from within, stood a woman also waiting. She was dressed in fashionable but professional clothes. Sensible heels. “Probably going to the airport too”, he thought.

They stood for a minute waiting and then she addressed him in German. “Ich spreche kein…” So then in English she said “They are inside, but they will not open 1 minute early.”

He smiled. She went on, “I have been up all night so I am in a hurry to get home.”

Her outfit made less sense now, at the end of a night shift.

“So this is your evening… I fly to the US today, so it is my morning. Today will last 30 hours.”

“Long day”, she said.

“What do you do?”, he asked.

“Midwife.”

“Oh wow. Was there a baby born this night?”

“Eight”

His eyes widened. Then the door to the bakery opened. She ordered first. They waited for a minute. Maybe two.

“The babies were quicker!” she said. Then her order was ready and she left.

He got his cappuccino and croissant, and walked down to meet his train. Eight babies, he thought.