5.15.2006

"Yes. Like the band, and the confection."

Have taken a break from Muses to re-write Cake.

Here's some rough-draft new material.

We hop in the cab, and in the back there is a small brown box, similar to the sort one might find Chinese takeout in but wide and squat. We alert the cab driver, ask if it’s his.
“It’s not mine. Open it! What’s inside?” We assume the previous fare must have left it on accident. Melinda carefully opens the box, and as the lid is breeched and she sees the contents, her mouth drops open and her eyes grow wide. Now I too am wondering what’s inside.
“Oh my god. Oh my god, oh my god.” Melinda can barely control herself.
“What is it?” I’m frantic at this point. The cabdriver as well is beside himself. Once she has calmed down a bit, she turns the box toward me so that I can see the contents. She can only produce one word to describe it.
“Cake.”
She’s right. There is cake, and it looks incredible. Three thick and moist dark chocolate slices, dusted with powdered sugar and fragrant of cardamom and cayenne. My mouth is watering. We ask the cab driver if we can eat it; we have to have it.
“Hell yes we can eat it. It’s not like anyone’s coming back for it. Plus, it’s my birthday, and I haven’t had any cake yet.”
My mouth is already full as he’s finishing his sentence, and I freeze, mid chew, still holding the rest of my slice. Melinda takes a bite before handing the cab driver his, as conveniently, there is enough cake for all of us.
“It’s your birthday?” I’m stunned.
“Yup. October 29th, 1968.”
“It’s my birthday too. This is awesome; now we can have cake together.”
I have known many people with the same birthday as me, but this was the first time I have had a favorable experience with one of them on our mutual day of celebration. When our stop is looming, Melinda and I dig through our wallets with chocolate covered fingers pooling enough one dollar bills to tip the driver exorbitantly. We are still smiling when I get out of the cab, still finishing our decadent slices of randomly encountered cake. We stop for a smoke in front of the bar before entering. I can see Quinn is already inside.
“Quinn’s already here.”
“Yeah, I saw.” There is no use pretending to Melinda that I don’t have feelings for him. I don’t even try anymore.
“Miranda, I didn’t know you guys were so…you know. Like together. I thought you guys were just having sex.” She sounds almost sad, and I begin to wonder why.
“Well, I mean, we’re not really together…yet. We haven’t had the rules talk yet, you know?” I am referring to an entirely different set of rules now, the ones that men and women ascribe to their partnerships thus defining the parameters of their relationship, like long ago with John, even longer ago with Matthew. With Quinn I feel like that chat is looming, and I am oddly excited.
“Miranda, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know.”
“Know what?” I am trying to keep things cool, but as I’m watching her lick the remaining gooey chocholate from her fingertips, I already know what she is about to tell me. She’s done nothing wrong, she was following the rules—but nonetheless she has tried some of my Cake, and I fear that some of its remnants are remaining on more than her fingertips. I never said Quinn was off limits because I was trying to keep it cool, but now it is my birthday and I am realizing as I finish my cake and I’m trying to keep the tears from spilling over my lashes that it is Matthew’s birthday as well, and this has been a long time coming, and that if he knew how I felt right now that it would be the best birthday gift he had ever received.


--M

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