One Bite

June 8, 2010
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“I’m an honest person, a good man. I know I can do this!!” I repeated to myself I stood outside the café during one of my usual runs around the block, one moment I focused on the sounds of Mark Ronson emanating from my I-pod and the next thing I see Is the new cake, the white, butter cream frosting twirling Into wavy brocade, the smooth, peach-colored petals that tapered around the edge, I guessed It’s a vanilla cake with maybe a hint of peach filling, just to fit with the décor, just like In Dad’s bakery.
“This is a definite work of art” I judged “only capable of being executed by a master”
I hold the thought in, knowing that this went against what I promised my girlfriend a week ago:
We were at some kind of alternative dessert shop; she was eating her usual, yogurt with granola crunches. She seemed pleased as she ate hers, though I remembered I was less enthused with what she picked out for me, a green tea with a generous amount of crunched pecans. I subtly cringed at the taste of the healthy monstrosity.
“Hey Nicholas” she said. She never calls me by my full name, unless she was serious or angry with me.
“I think you’re going a little bit on the heavy side”
Now, this wasn’t what I expected, I play on the school soccer team, also as the captain of that same team, In addition to inheriting a very healthy metabolism, I never once went over my usual limit.
“What do you mean? I’ve been running everyday for miles and I took that diet you showed me” I tried to reason “I checked my weight yesterday, it’s around 200 pounds, that’s pretty fit”
“I know, but It’s just you still look heavy, are you sure you’ve been cutting back from the cakes and stuff?” her perfect face scrunched up as she spoke.” I know you love it, but it’ll be good for you in the end”
She took a bite of her yogurt, relishing the taste. I couldn’t help but adm9re the way her hair fell to her face, the purple shirt that I always liked on her.
“Yeah, but even with that, I took time away from my job at the café, just so I can focus on losing weight!!!” I huffed, keeping my temper down, as I tried and failing in forgetting the pain of that day. When I told O’Reily and my best friend Seb that I had to leave, the cheerfully faked expressions silently admonished me as I struggled to explain why I had to go, but they still knew Needless to say It counted as one of the worst moments In my life, a day that I haven’t failed in relieving since.
“I know that, and I appreciate the effort, but what it will be like If all our friends saw you like this?” she said eating more of her dessert. “I mean, it’s like you’re telling them that you take care of yourself”
“Well Seb, doesn’t mind, and the guys in the soccer team are cool with It” I said with a hope that she may change her mind; she liked my friends, except for Seb, they both always had a vendetta of sorts.
“I don’t mean just your friends, what about mine? They’re just as important, aren’t they?” she looked at me with those mesmerizing, green eyes watching me. Her coconut scented perfume wafting across the table. “I mean think of how proud all of us would be when we see the result of your work”
“I still think that I shouldn’t have to work this hard, I already did 3 laps yesterday, not to mention doing practice with the guys yesterday”
She instantly changed from her cheerful demeanor to one of complete hurt and I knew that I made a misstep.
“So my opinion doesn’t matter” she said stiffly, with a hint of tears “I see, well why don’t you go to your teammates since you obviously listen to them more than your own girlfriend”
“That not at all the case” I said, reaching out for her hand. “I’m just saying that maybe, I should just get a break from all the work”
She snatched her hand back, leaking out some tears in the process with a surprisingly hoarse voice.
“I think maybe you should think about what’s more important. Me or your friends?”
We sat there for what seemed to be ages, and I took her hand.
“You, It will always be you” he said holding her close to me.
I looked at Mr. O’Reily, his baker’s hat covering what hair he had left. The same man who offered me a chance for an apprenticeship. This man was a colleague of my father, In the same culinary school, a man who worked In Paris, London and Rome, and still had a modest view of the world that he went back to America to run his family’s business, I debated whether I should just talk to him about how his friend Is doing. Yeah, that’s not against what I promised her, and with that I entered the place, savoring the sweet return to the dough, sugar, and coffee, the familiar scent of pastries, almost celebrating his long return. To me, it’s like being home after a long trip around the world, and, I the world weary traveler returned to see the changes of my homeland, even the steam rising from those sweets looked like they were waiting for me.
“Eat us” they called out, voices in a mere whisper. “Eat us”
And for the love off all that Is sacred, I wanted to, oh God did I want to just order a piece of that one cake from earlier and just take that one bite. The one bite that all bakers, and pastry chefs alike take, the one bit that tells them if their work is truly a masterpiece or something made by Betty Crocker. But my promise to his girlfriend inevitably won out and prompted me to go and focus on getting back on to the run, but my legs had other Ideas.
I took his seat near the cash register and then Seb, came over wearing the uniform of the place, a white shirt underneath a black vest with black pants. His dark hair was a casual mess; I didn’t fail to notice the girls eyeing my friend.
“Sup man” he waved. “I haven’t seen you around here for awhile”
“Sup, aren’t you supposed to be working?” I jabbed back, smirking.
“It’s cool, Mr. Riley gave me a break” he said taking a stool and leaning on the table. “So how’re things between you and Lina? Last time I remember, she basically took your pride and a hefty amount of your dignity, I believe.” he chided. “Has she told you to wear a leash yet?”
“Hey, we’re doing well, and I thought It was about time, I took better care of myself” I said, hands tucked. “She actually makes a lot of sense, so could you try to back me up here?”
“I’m trying man, really, I am, but It’s just that she’s got you so whipped” he rocked his seat back and forth, gave a smile to some of the girls leaving, and turning back to him.
“She told you to quit your job here, you do it” my buddy listed. “She told you to cut off the sweets. You do it. I hate to break it to you, but she pretty much got you wrapped around that expensively manicured nail”
“No way, I actually got her to go to one of my matches, remember? She wouldn’t have come if I didn’t lay down the law”
“Yeah, you sure did lay down the law on just one Incident, where as…” he ticked his fingers. “She had you tied around about fifty thousand. Face It you’re whipped”
“You’re delusional” I shrugged off
“Delusional? Me? I’m not the one who gave up his dream job just because she felt you gain a little, I’m not the one who runs after her like some poodle” he took a sip of his tea, and with a low voice commented “Does she not know you? You got into baking because of your father; he was a pastry chef and taught you everything and you took everything to heart when he died”
“I think you’re just dense, she isn’t making me miss anything” I said. “Really”
He sat there a few moments and left after a few minutes and came back with the slice of cake I was eyeing earlier. He put It In front of me and that’s when I felt my carefully structured composure crack.
“Come on” he said. “It was freshly baked by the big man himself and… It is vanilla with a peach filling”
“He knows me too well, that jack hole” he thought, but silently celebrated my accuracy at the choice of flavor.
I tried to Ignore It, but with everything I admired the craftsmanship, and the fact that I couldn’t fathom why she wouldn’t let me enjoy this, to take that one bite, I couldn’t resist, and this Is what I wanted to do with his life, along with Dad.
“Screw it” I thought as I took that bite.

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bobun16 said...
Jun. 10, 2010 at 6:55 pm
ahahaha! This is great! I love it! Write more, write more!
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