There is a very pleasant little bakery in my town, and I went there this afternoon to buy a cake that weighs about 500 pounds in dense chocolatey-raspberry decadence. For twenty-seven bucks maybe it is made with gold flour and angel crap, I don't know. The cake is, in fact, too good. You take the first bite and savor its tremendous yumminess, but then by about halfway through the slice, you are overwhelmed with RICHNESS and your head starts to spin and flowers grow out of your eyes and fairy dust leaps off your skin. You look at the cake and go DAMN THAT IS REALLY GOOD and then fall into a diabetic coma and the dog steals the rest, slinking off like a zorrero. Cake can be exciting.

The woman behind the counter asked me if I wanted any writing on my investment in eating, and I said, oh sure, and she gave it to a woman in the back while I nommed on a tasty slice of apricot cheese strudel. I really like the smell of bakeries. It reminds me of the one I used to go to when I was a little gurrl, where we would go to get the birthday cakes and sugar cookies and fresh loaves of tall white bread that they would slice for you as you waited. In a long clear glass container on top of the display case there were always big stick pretzels. Every time I came in, if the bakery owner was there, he would come out and talk to me for awhile. The memory is so hazy now, I just see his white apron, black hair, and big smile. He would go to the pretzel container, and give me one, crouching to my level, saying, "For you, little sweetheart." I still feel the warmth from that, how special that made me feel. A small kindness, remembered.

The woman who was decorating my cake comes out to show me the writing, and she is not too happy. She is pretty, around my age or so, with her dark brown hair pulled back into a loose ponytail. She speaks with a heavy Spanish accent, and apologizes to me that the words on the cake are a bit smudged. It is the weather, she says, it is so hard to get this frosting to work right, it needs to be a different kind of frosting. She offers to actually get me another cake and try to re-write it. Well, it looks just fine to me, and I tell her so, that it is no problem at all, and I thank her. She asks me if the cake is for a family member, and I say yes, and then she asks me how many kids I have, and I tell her three. She asks if they will all be at the birthday caking tonight, and I tell her yes, yes they will.

She reaches into the display case, and puts five beautiful sparkley red heart-shaped cookies into a white bag and hands it to me. "For all of you. Thank you for being so understanding."


I smile, thank her profusely, and give her a small hug, and go on my way with the cake in a big white box, as a car stops to let me cross the street, the driver smiling and waving at me to go on, it's OK.