5.23.2012

For Becky: "I'm Sweeter Than Equal."


B--

I love Cake, that's no secret. I really do love actual Cake—just last weekend a girlfriend and I retired from a marathon day of drinking to Coronas and Mexican food off the Graham L, and after seeing all the confections queued in the pastry case on the way in, leaving without some became impossible. My choice? Well, choices actually. I had to get something called Rainbow Pastry that tasted like a mix between marzipan and God—but the real winner here was a slice of six layered german chocolate with white buttercream frosting Cake. Mmm.

Now I also love proverbial Cake, but that's the idea: by definition I have to love it as that's what I've decided that it means.

Cake.

Cake is all of those things that you wait so patiently for, those things you probably shouldn't have that you still want so, so bad. Cake is a surprise. Over the years your tastes may change, but Cake adorns your fantasies from the day of your first birthday when most North American kids are handed thier first fluffy slice; you may think Cake is trivial but that's only because you can't remember that day when it was the first time you had it. There was a day when it was the sweetest thing you'd ever tasted, when try as you might you couldn't help but keep it from your cheeks and eyebrows in a desperate attempt to put as much as possible in your mouth, and your young life was forever changed.

I only know one person who dislikes literal Cake, and that is my niece, Lex. She prefers ice cream, and that's just fine because proverbial Cake can easily be ice cream. Ice cream, lovers, fast cars. Airplanes.

No wait--not airplanes, not exactly. Cake is like that first step out of the terminal, yes. It's like after you've been through baggage claim and gone to the bathroom and stepped past those automatic doors. At FTL there's that instant rush of humidity and at O'Hare the wind picks up and at Dulles! Dulles just might be the oddest place to disembark from an airplane. It like: here you are, you've made it, and this here is a whole new place from where you were a few hours ago. Even when you are returning it's a surprise, a boon, a new world devised, in that moment, just for you. It's Cake.

The flight? That's not exactly Cake. You've likely earned that flight; you've saved your money and vacation days, you've picked a destination, you've scanned the internet for the perfect outbound and return. It is your reward for a hard day's work, the weekly grind, the long winter. This flight is your choreographed escape, it's your version of “chillin' on the front porch after runnin' ball”, and that's why folks: that's why the flight is Lemonade.

While Cake comes to all that are patient, Lemonade describes those things that we earn, we fight for, that we deserve more than most. If Cake is that extra errant cherry sunk deep into a Manhattan, then Lemonade is the Maker's Rocks enjoyed after a shift bartending. It's the jump from the deck of a sailboat, it's pressing the lobby button in the elevator, It's the much deserved calm after the storm. Lemonade is your reward for being right, correct, scrappy and persistent. Cake we enjoy, but Lemonade is what graces the tips of our tongues when we run into our exes and when we are at our high school reunions. We brag about Lemonade.

And why shouldn't we? Lemonade is the reward that divides us. It can't be sipped without some scars; it separates the winners from the complacent and that's exactly why it's so fucking sweet. Lemonade is only for those who know which fork to use at the grown-ups table and when to skip all of them in lieu of an early dessert.

Becky, this is a hugely elaborate lead in to a very simple truth: next Thursday I will fly to the West Coast for the first time in a year and a half and will be welcomed with open arms and ears waiting patiently for tales of New York. And what I'm saying is that this flight is just the first of many tall glasses of Lemonade that I have so rightfully earned in the last six months. 

It's our scars, Becky! They make us. They make us better.

It seems like nobody understands so often because not many have taken the time or been given the opportunity to earn their stripes, but we have. Our rewards await us Becky, and they are in the frostiest glasses and drizzled with honey, they are mixed with muddled lime and mint, shaken with the finest Kentucky bourbon, they are sparkling and crafted with the lemons that are always so plentiful when you have so few options.

And the Cake that we are awaiting?

Cake awaits those that are patient, those that believe that it's coming. This weekend will find me far out of the city, lips pursed around the tines of a heavy handled fork that will take several long dips from the many layered Cake that is, right now, my favorite variety. I will only be home for a scant few days before I set out to enjoy this very same Cake in my fair hometown.

So which is better, Cake or Lemonade?

Does it really matter when you can have them both?

XOXO—M

206.941.5609
309 Wilson Ave #3R
BK, NY, 11237

p.s. -- Garrett Dutton once said, a very long time ago, that should he "make it"--in his instance this meant becoming a financially successful musician--that he would have the script word "Lemonade" tattooed on his bicep. He kinda made it since most know him as G. Love, and his arm bears this very tattoo. I've earned the scars that were handed me, and I think it might be time to make some new scars of my own. The fact that I'll cross the Delaware into Philadelphia on Friday seems to render this week oh so very auspicious for such specific pursuits. --M

p.s. -- 5.26 edit:
Yup. That happened. I love Philly.

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