Ineptness frequents me this time of year. I find myself clinging to the intangible. I struggle with the ordinary. I whither within myself, too. Truth sneers into my heart leaving it ramshackled & rummaged to a state entirely out of proportion. There are years I allow this incessant ineptness to completely break me. Like a poor choice of a plastic spoon for ice cream thick & dense, I snap. Popping off right at the base, I leave behind only the rigid white plastic shaft of myself as a reminder I was there. Last year was one of those years. Then there are years when the numbness includes me. Gosh, I love the invite, too. The numb years may be the best ones of the lot. No huge shockwaves of memory. No jigsaw puzzles valiantly assembled only to realize that out of 1,000 pieces, you only have 999.
This year I made cake. I don't know why. As best as I can see it, my hands are the vocal cords of my heart. Gravitationally speaking, I had to. My body pursued a movement busy & task oriented before my mind could offer up any stamp of approval. I operated with a quasi-level of consciousness. I drifted in only to find myself so far outside the entire production. Coconut oil replaced vegetable oil because its healthier for you we were out of vegetable oil. I semi-measured. I didn't time its baking. I just assembled with the intentions of completion, yet with little conviction of flavor or finished product. To beat it all, I made coconut cake. 1 out of 4 members in our household like coconut cake.
I made it the day before. Anticipation of the dreaded 24 hour reminder always makes me antsy. I'm never best at facing a train heading straight on. Particularly, when I am reminded of how many of us stand on these railroad tracks. This train will pass faster this year; you make cake. At least my innards thought this to be a truth worth clinging to.
The icing. I made homemade buttercream. I felt the anguish welling wildly within me. I knew all too well that real butter makes the best buttercream. I used margarine. The sugar crystalized pudding was a poignant reminder of my state. Runny. Fragmented. Grainy. The color. I couldn't remember her favorite. I wanted to say it was green, but then I remember our home having a lot of blues. Damnit, what was her favorite color? I swelled ridiculously with mayhem; I had to leave the dripping concentration for reflection. Moreover, to avoid the inevitable. Tomorrow was the day. And, I knew not her favorite color.
One hour later, with my composure somewhat regained, I worked to create turquoise. My over mixed human altered fat source margarine could now claim a color. I sanctified my ineptness with smears of blue-green onto a cake half heartedly created. Lumps pooled at its base; cracks of cake rejected its covering. I am those cracks every year. Every year.
A loss was before me. The unwanted, unpopular coconut flavor found itself saturated with soups of the equal parts turquoise mixture. I couldn't remember her favorite color. Spontaneously charged with emotion, I bounded out to right this wrong. Grasping at whatever it took to visually create an outside unscathed by the damage already done internally, I would save this cake. I tried to do this exact same thing 17 years ago.
With new bowlfuls of real butter infused frosting made, I moved to mask the disaster. I smoothed and rounded the sides with purpose. Placing the knife aptly so, my tears fell. Alone in my kitchen, I grieved her. I charged on with even more tenacity to cover and to conceal the cracks.
I could do this.
I could do this.
I could not.
Tomorrow she would be gone 17 years. Tomorrow I would grieve her all over again. I would remember her smell. I would feel through the hours each & every one. I would wait for the rain, too. Numbness did not send me an invitation this year. Half heartedly this cake became. Cracks, substitutions and corrections are my reminders.
1,000 999 pieces.
I made cake.