Friday, June 17, 2016

The Cake (Blogophilia 17.9)

And she was like a starry night
Like a Ferris wheel, full of blue-green eyes
And a heart of steel, always on her own 
Almost never real 
Lazy morning light projected shadows diagonally across the grey hairs of his chest. Noise of a hand mixer and punk rock music had finally woken Bart. As he rubbed his eyes he wondered, when was the last time it had been used? Before Amy’s last chemo, he guessed. This roller coaster ride was real. Everything seemed renewed, even though he knew would end sooner or later. With a prayer of gratitude, he slipped on a robe and went to the kitchen.
She didn’t hear him pad in. Cream cheese wrappers were lined up like solders on the counter. The sugar canister was open and he could feel the heat of the oven. Her back was to him, totally focused on the task at hand. The tattered flower apron accentuated her thinness, but he didn’t care. The bird like features of the face more than made up for it. This place was a home again. 
Reaching around her waist, he placed a light kiss on her collarbone. 
“Hey, Babe. What’cha cookin?’
Giggling, she swatted his hand away. “Baklava Cheesecake. It’s for the building women’s club tomorrow.” Turning off the mixer, she ejected beaters and set them on the newspaper she had spread to catch the mess. “If you’re a good boy, I’ll let you have the bowl.”
Picking up a wide spatula, she began to scrape the mixture down the sides of the bowl. Pale, veined hands strained against the thick batter. Holding the bowl still was rewarded with an appreciative smile. One the far corner of the counter, phyllo sheets sat stacked and waiting. 
“Baklava and Cheesecake? Bending the rules, ain’t it? With that much sugar, you’re going to keep the diabetes doctors in business.” With a grin, he added “The biddies in the building jealous?” 
“Oh, one or two.” Holly grinned. “That Mrs. Donohue got on my nerves last week with all the bragging on how much weight she’s lost. The least I could do is fatten her up.”
They both laughed.
“Yeah, Amy couldn’t stand her either. Said she was nothing but a home wrecker. She never made a move towards me, though. I think she was scared.” Pouring coffee, he places Holly’s on the counter next to the bowl. “It was just the aggressive attitude. Been a widow so long I think she’s forgotten basic civility.”
“She’s probably lonely.” 
Taking a spatula, she began folding the thick mass out of the bowl into the waiting spring form pan. Suddenly he could see Amy making the Chess Pie. The raven curls tied back to keep them out of the mix as she made the layers, Bart always holding the pan steady. They would play Rochambeau like a couple of little kids to see who got the beaters and bowl. But it didn’t matter, they always shared. Bart sensed soft pressure on his shoulders and knew the spirit was still with them. 
The process involved a lot of primping and wiping. With a flat surface of a spoon, the top of the batter quickly resembled a tabletop. Then she stacked the thin pastry sheets one at a time, putting a thin stream of honey and chopped nuts between each layer. Finally everything met her satisfaction and she quickly put it on the top rack of the oven. 
Then she turned and placed the batter coated spoon gently into Bart’s mouth. Then she replaced it with her lips. For a full thirty seconds they shared. Pulling back with a sigh, she looked deep in his eyes. 
“Happy, now?”
“Mmmm.... Yeah. You taste better than the cake.”
“You’re just saying that. I taste like Chemo.”
“As if that was new to me?” Bart frowned. “If it is the same to you, I would rather taste that than nothing at all”
“Oh, I know.” Holly sighed as she sat in the other chair. “I’m just amazed I have as much energy as I do.”
“So much like my Amy.” Smiling, Bart took a sip from his cup. “She used to quote ‘to give anything less than your best was to sacrifice the gift.’ You have that same spirit within you.”
“Steve Prefontaine.” A slow smile came to Holly’s lips. “My one and only good boyfriend was a runner and used to say it all the time. I wish I had listened. That was such a long time ago.” 
She stopped and and placed her hand on his, garnet ring reflecting the morning sun.
“Wait a minute. What should we call us? I mean after the last month, I’m really not sure...”
Bart kissed her forehead.
“Two people God wanted to heal.” 
She sat in his lap and began to rub the balding head
“And when it is all over?”
“Oh, I’ll cry when you go over the bridge.” The smile became bigger. “But for right now, I thank Him for this. And you should, too”

Topic- Tyler Myrth
Pic-Rutger Siskens
Pic guesses: Bridge (in blog), Sine wave, Open water, Narrows, Oscillating, Other Side, Nessie, Krakken, Point, sea snake.