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Raffaela wiped her hands on her apron, and then began to dip metal tubes into oil, placing them on a rack to drain. “Now we wait,” she said.
“For how long?”
“Maybe just half an hour. Then the dough should be ready and we can fry out the shells on those metal tubes there.” She pointed to the rack. “Come, we’ll sit on the back porch and watch the boats on the water.” Raffaela grabbed two bottles of water and headed for the back door.
Sabrina followed her and sat down on a cushioned Adirondack chair next to Raffaela. A beach stretched in front of them, and gentle waves lapped at the sand.
“Wow, this is a gorgeous view.”
Raffaela nodded. “It was this view that sold me on the house. I thought it was ridiculous to own something so large, but then I came out and saw this… I knew immediately that I wanted to spend my mornings drinking coffee out here and looking out at the water.”
“It’s so peaceful.”
“Yes it is.” They were silent for a moment, and then Raffaela spoke again. “How do you like living in the city?”
“It’s an adjustment from San Francisco, but so far I like it,” Sabrina said.
It wasn’t entirely the truth. Admittedly, the city was exciting and new to her, but she would enjoy it even more if Daniel spent more time with her exploring it. But she didn’t want to tell Raffaela that her son was rarely home.
“Daniel mentioned you were a lawyer. Are you with a firm?”
“No, not yet, but I’m looking to go back to work. There are several firms in the city that I’m applying to.”
“There are days when I miss working, too, but I guess that comes with retirement.” Raffaela smiled.
Sabrina glanced at her. She didn’t look old enough to be retired. In fact, Sabrina had assumed that Raffaela chose not to work.
“What did you do?”
“When Daniel was in school, I volunteered as a teaching aide, and when he went off to college, I worked the desk at the local country club. I even did some party planning for a while. I enjoyed that. You know, meeting people, talking to them. I miss that.” She fell silent for a moment, and then asked, “So, Tim set up the blind date between you and Daniel?”
Sabrina’s stomach made a flip and her heart began to race. “Yes.” Maybe if she kept her answers short and to the point, Raffaela would drop the subject.
“Tim’s a character, isn’t he?” Raffaela laughed as if remembering something funny, a memory Sabrina didn’t share.
“He sure is.” She’d met Tim only once just before she and Daniel had left for New York. “My friend Holly and Tim are friends. I was very reluctant at first, because you know how blind dates can be.”
“Oh yes, don’t I know it? I’ve been on a few doozies myself. My best friend in high school set me up with her older cousin. He got so nervous he threw up all over my shoes. Needless to say, that relationship didn’t go anywhere.”
Sabrina cupped her hand over her mouth and laughed. “I went on a date once and the guy kept taking my picture so he could blog about it the next day.”
“Technology has ruined chivalry, hasn’t it? What will they come up with next?” Raffaela looked at her watch and stood. “I think we can go finish the cannoli now.”
Sabrina followed her back into the kitchen, and once again watched as Raffaela expertly prepared the Italian dessert. As she rolled out the dough, then used a pasta machine to make the dough even thinner, Raffaela explained everything she was doing, sharing her secrets for making sure the shells weren’t too thick or too thin.
“See, and then you’ll dip them into the hot oil and fry them until they’re crispy,” she explained, and demonstrated it at the same time.
After a few minutes in the oil, Raffaela pulled the shell out again. “Now, the trick is to slide the shell off the tube without breaking it. It’s really simple once you’ve done it a few times.”
Sabrina sighed. “You make it look easy, but I’m sure when I do it, they’ll crack!”
“Try the next one,” Raffaela encouraged her.
Sabrina nodded. When Raffaela pulled the next cannoli from the hot oil, Sabrina carefully slid the crispy shell off its metal casing and was surprised to see that it remained intact. “I did it!”