For this month's Cafe Writing, Option Two: Pick ThreePick at least three of the following eight words, and write a paragraph, scene, flash-fic, essay, blog entry or poem using them. It’s fine to change tenses, or pluralize if you want to, but please bold the words you choose. breathless, change, elusive, pensive, reflect, surge, tide, vibrant Breathless, Sarah dropped her arm, resting it for a moment on the edge of the granite counter top. For longer than she cared to think, the muscles in her upper arms had done nothing more strenuous than hold a magazine, and this morning’s relentless motion had set them screaming in protest.
She summoned a final surge of energy and tightened her grip on the utensil in her hand. One, two, three, she counted, scooping the dense batter and swirling it in a circular motion around the circumference of the bowl. Eggs, butter, sugar and flour – she had forgotten just how resistant this combination of ingredients could be.
How long had it been since she baked? Closing her eyes, she fought the tide of sorrow which threatened her precarious emotional equilibrium. That last time, the batter had been pure dark chocolate, flourless and rich, Scott’s favorite cake to honor him on his birthday. And now the day that marked Scott’s birth was forever defaced by the tragedy of his death. A whole year had passed, and her pain was as fresh as if it had been yesterday.
Sarah continued to whip the rich yellow batter, determined to put these painful reflections aside and finish this project. As it began to froth creamily under her capable hands, she felt her arm settling into the familiar motion, finding the rhythm of long practice.
Sarah’s cakes were legendary among her family and friends. “You should own a bakery!” people would exclaim, forking bites of her latest sweet concoction into their mouths. No one had loved her cakes more than Scott, and from the time he was very small her son had “assisted” her in the kitchen, his pudgy hands measuring and adding ingredients with remarkable deftness.
She had once allowed herself to daydream about the possibility of a small shop, her confections arrayed in sparkling glass fronted display cases. She had even imagined that Scott might be her partner, and they could work side by side in their labor of love.
What she had never imagined was the way grief would change her life, alter her very perception of herself and the world around her. For months, she had been able to do little more than cry and wander aimlessly from room to room. She had avoided her kitchen assiduously, entering only long enough to brew tea or make toast, her staple diet for weeks on end. Scott’s death had sent her once vibrant dreams trailing elusively over the horizon, like wisps of clouds blown across the sky.
Sarah stopped whipping her cake batter, and stared into the bowl. It was the perfect consistency, she could tell just by looking. Smooth and very pale yellow, nary a bubble or froth marring its creamy complexion. What had convinced her to bake again, today of all days? Could this gruesome anniversary herald a new beginning? Hesitantly, she touched the tip of her little finger to a peaked mound, bringing the dot of batter to her lips. Placing it on her tongue, the heady sweetness of fresh butter and sugar melted into her taste buds, and her eyes filled with tears.
It was good, she thought, letting the mellow aftertaste linger on her tongue, good to create once again.