i. early morning ravioli
On your last day in Boston, you rise when the light is still young and pale. You pull pasta dough from the fridge, and drink black coffee and eat a cup of blueberry yogurt as you wait for it to come to room temperature.
You know from experience that nothing endures. Still, you have the urge to make a final gesture, to leave some trace behind. Yours begins with garlic, mushrooms, and goat's cheese. Flavors you know she likes. Cooling the mixture, rolling and cutting, pinching and crimping to create ravioli. Tiny parcels to be opened in your absence. A small legacy: a well-stocked freezer.
ii. banh mi at noon
The asian food court is within walking distance, a fixture in your everday landscape. The friend you meet here is also a fixture, someone with whom you've shared ten years of common history. For this last meal, you opt for offerings from the vietnamese place. Banh mi, crusty roll stuffed with sweet pork and vinegared vegetables, discarding the sprigs of cilantro as you always do.
You don't stand on ceremony, and you part ways outside, walking down the street into the hot noon sun.
iii. late afternoon orleans fries
Outside, the sunshine spills in golden falls across the pavement, but it is pleasantly dim in the interior of the Friendly Toast. You read over the enormous menu out of habit, but you already know exactly what you'd like. One order of sweet potato fries with a sticky-spicy Tabasco glaze, and a black-and-white frappe with raspberries, to share.
The fries arrive heaped high upon a platter, and you crown their bright, crisp lengths with daubs of sour cream. Sweet and bright pink, the frappe is so thick it almost defeats the straw. Perhaps you look close to tears, but maybe that's only the pain in your temples from the cold.
iv. cannoli at midnight
You've been out on the bike only once or twice after dark, and never at this speed, hanging on tight as you tear down Beacon Street in an effort to reach the North End before Modern Pastry closes for the night. Your mother would kill you if she knew, but you trust his driving, and you enjoy the sight of Boston lit up and glittering as it rushes by at sixty miles an hour.
You're racing the clock, and you know this mad errand could be fruitless. But you are lucky; the Sox game you curse in Kenmore Square becomes your saving grace at Hanover Street. The doors are wide and the queue long when you arrive, the space rowdy with baseball fans. You place your order, cannoli chocolate-dipped and plain, filled with sweet ricotta. The red-and-white twine-wrapped box goes into your backpack, and you return flush with victory.
At midnight, you sit down and cut the twine on the box. The cannoli are tender and flaky, and you lick your fingers clean. One last taste of Boston before bed, before your early morning flight.