I am making a cake. It will be red and glorious and tall.
With a friend by my side, we begin with the batter.
Questions and a sense of uncertainty arise as I am unsure about ingredients and steps,
My foot taps as I stand and watch flour scatter onto the counter,
Then onto the floor.
I make white-lined footprints and restrain the urge to fix, clean, control.
Grabbing a spoon, I mix cocoa powder with red food coloring, creating a thick, ugly paste.
Frowning, we throw it into the mixer and watch as the lumpy mixture shifts from beige to a deep, rich red.
Confidence returns and the batter is almost done.
Before placing it into the oven, vinegar and baking soda fizz and hiss and that goes into the well-greased cake pan as well.
My heart stills and we wait impatiently as the cakes rise and puff up proudly.
Out of the oven to cool, and so we make the frosting.
Where is the cream cheese? There is none, and the giddy feeling evaporates. The cake is ruined, it is over.
The cakes look sad and unfinished.
This catastrophe is put to an end when I remember that Ralphs is nearby.
With the wind in our hair and the sun on our backs, we pedal quickly and purposefully.
The cakes are still warm, we have time, we have cream cheese!
I take a rolling pin and aggressively beat the butter until softened, loving the methodic, satisfying thump.
Thump, thump! All will be well. Thump, thump! Almost there. Thump! Done.
Into the bowl it goes, as well as vanilla and the cheese and mountains and mountains of sugar.
The whisk spins and flicks the frosting into fluffy peaks, and we spread generous amounts onto the scarlet cakes.
The dessert is distributed among family and friends, and is gobbled down gratefully.
After all of that fretting,
I am relieved.