Cake-Down

Picture this; you’re sat in a cafe with a cup of ‘English Breakfast tea’ (as everyone is now calling them) and a slice of creamy strawberry cheesecake. You’re in deep conversation with your friend, though actually they are deep in their own story while you are secretly thinking of when to have your next bite of cake. Normally you get chocolate cake, or carrot cake and you wolf it down but this time you got cheesecake and everything is different… so different… You’re savouring every mouthful, thinking about how you feel a little bit sick but in 30 or 40 seconds you’ll be fine and you’ll be craving another mouthful. You might even start concentrating on the flavour of cheese within the cake so that you can imagine you’ve just eaten something savoury to speed up the process of being ready for your next mouthful of sugar-filled, mousse.

You’re friend has finished their cake, in fact you notice that most people in the cafe have finished their cake and they’re all mourning the last mouthful and sulkily drinking their ‘English Breakfast Tea’ instead, or their alternately fancy titled drink. You may question whether you’re being dramatic about the fanciness of the name ‘English Breakfast Tea’ but then you remember the beautiful simplicity of the name ‘cheesecake’ and know that you’re right. Ch-eeeeeese ccc-ake.

While contemplating all these things within the few moments between your last and your next mouthful you realise, there is only one mouthful of cake left. You want to eat that last bit of cake now but you know if you wait a little bit longer that it will taste much much better and that you’ll be all the more satisfied. A bit like sex, though unlike sex you will not wait long only to find the cheesecake asleep and you hungry and unsatisfied. So you wait, knowing that the cheesecake won’t disappoint, knowing that if you let yourself crave it for just a little longer that it might actually be worth £4.50.

Now you have a terrible thought… your friend has finished her lemon cake but she offered you a bit of hers. You had tried it and then forgotten to offer some of your cheesecake in return because you had been busy complimenting the light, airiness of the cake and mentally bragging that your cheesecake was better. This could be karma repaying you, she might ask to try ‘a little bit’ before you finish and get the majority of the last mouthful. Quick, distract her, engage her… what’s she talking about? She’s talking about an ulcer she has, not a particular gripping story, she could easily notice the cake at anytime… It might be a bit of an awkward segway but you can do it, it’s for a good cause…

“How’s Jake? Has he been in touch? Did you find out if he’s got a new girlfriend?”

There’s a long silence… that was definitely an awkward segway, in fact it wasn’t a segway at all, it was an ambush if anything. It’s worked though, she thought about, she sighs and she starts going on an endless rant about her ex boyfriend. You tell yourself that she needed to vent, it wasn’t you just being selfish, it wasn’t about the cake… You stop listening and you remember the cake. Now’s your opportunity to take that final, delicious last bite. It’s been long enough now to get the full flavour of strawberry, cream cheese and muscovado brown sugar. It’s only been two minutes but everything happens to fast when your sailing through a sugar rush with a beautiful thing like this. You wait for the opportune moment for your friend to gaze into her coffee as she contemplates one to many things about her love life and then you look away and line up your prey, the cheesecake.

Just as you’re leaning into that helpless mound of moussey, cheesy goodness, a waiter with the speed and reaction of a cat whisks the plate away from your table. Your face drops as that little pink blob becomes a blur whizzing away from you becoming more and more distant. It’s not the end of the world, the waiter has only balanced it on top of another plate but then he snatches another plate from the next table and crushes your dear lover careless brutality. Your savoured, beloved cheesecake has been squashed, destroyed, ended and you just can’t control your feelings. You throw your fists in the air and slam them back down on the table. The waiter turns, surprised and your friend snaps out of her painful reminiscing to see your face red, puffy and distraught. The waiter asks you something politely but you ignore him and indignantly interrupt with the exact voice that your mother uses to make complaints. Your voice cracks when you realise this but you must go on, this isn’t for you, this is for the cheesecake. You begin raising your voice, some would even call it shouting but those same people would probably call tea ‘English Breakfast Tea’. The waiter stutters, you bark back, he apologises, you snub him. As if to tease you he lifts the plate to show the corpse of your cake, you throw your arms in the air and finally stand up and purposely knock all of the sugar on the floor and storm out.

Now you’re outside and you realise that it might not have been as much of a big deal as you may have made it out to be. The sugar high is now wearing off and you start thinking you probably shouldn’t have called the waiter a ‘useless, pathetic excuse for a person’. Your friend comes out, looking embarrassed, she’s clearly paid the bill and left an extra tip too but to offer to pay her back would imply you were wrong. You weren’t wrong, you were very, very right… surely.

You walk back to the station with your friend thinking about your lost love. She has tried to change the subject but we both know it’s playing on our minds. You hug her goodbye and she jumps on the train and leaves. As the train leaves and your friend thinks she’s out of sight you notice her put her hand to her head and shake her head, mystified.

now you are by yourself the realisation kicks in that you have not just lost the last bite but you’ve made quite the fool out of yourself. More than a fool, you may have looked slightly insane. You start remembering everything you said and cringing. You replay in your head all the obscene gestures that you thrust at the waiter. You realise what you’ve done and you are paralysed with embarrassment. You think of running back into the cafe and apologising but you can’t possibly face the murderous waiter now. You think of ringing your friend and trying to make a joke out of the thing but you doubt she’ll find it funny. You feel terrible, shaky, sick to your stomach and absolutely nothing can console you. You try to think what you can do now, you’re feeling lost. Actually, one thing can console you… So, you make your way to the next cafe and hover over your plate like a cake-loving-Gollum.

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