First there was a Man. Then a Woman. Then in quick succession, two cats, a confused dog beast, and two kids. I stay at home with them. I'm the Man

Friday, April 16, 2010

Piece

It was a harsh night.  A night when dinner time reminds one less of the Huxtables and more of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.  Or Hamlet.  Or Malcom in the Middle.  Grim toddler faces glare out from booster seats.  Gruesome, angry visages robbed of cuteness. 

Your wife’s face is set in an impenetrable mask of exhaustion and discontent.  If a voice does sound out, it is whining or screeching, snapping or yelling.  No one is really eating.  And if they’re taking bites, they don’t taste anything.  It’s just fuel.  You glance around the table, but meet no one’s eyes.  That’ll make things worse.  The only thing you all agree on is that it’s time for dinner to end.  You stand, shoulders slumped, defeated.  You shuffle around the table, collect the dishes. Collect the baleful stares.

Maybe you’ll go to bed early.  In the basement.  In the furnace.

Somewhere, a dog bays a strangled cry and goes silent.

Then, something turns over in your head.  Heaves itself with great effort from the back of your pillaged brain to the front.  Is there one?  Is there one left?  There has to be. 

You go to the fridge and open it.  Peer past the half empty condiment jars, cloudy Tupperware containers, and mysterious foil packets.  You spot it.  Hope.  You take it out..  Unwrap it. It’s bright, shocking, pink.  The princess wanted it that way.  Must be careful now.  Surgical.  It must be divided in to four equal pieces.  Pieces of redemption.  Chocolate redemption. 

You place the pieces in front of the jury of Ringwraiths that was once your family.  They regard you solemnly.  They dig in. The princess gets the one flower left.  No one minds.  It was her birthday.  The alchemy of cold, congealed, (pink!) sugar and rich dark chocolate; science and magic; transmutes the demon jury back into something resembling your family. There is gusto.  Smiling.  Conversation.  Togetherness.  Relief.

I don’t know what happiness looks like, but I know it tastes like cake.


This post brought to you by Fatherhood Fridays at dad-blogs.com.

11 comments:

  1. Wow - that imagery at the beginning had me going there for a minute. Thought to say a little prayer.Glad I prayed that you'd get some cake... weirdly random huh? Who knew? =-)

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  2. Ah, the magic of cake...especially chocolate cake!

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  3. Sorry about dinner last night; it was delicious and I love you. Oh, and the consignment store is children's orchard.

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  4. Oh, that last line is a winner. Although I will admit that if it had been me, I would have sneaked the entire piece of cake for myself later, as revenge.

    That could explain this unwanted weight gain, I guess.

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  5. Well, sh*t, what am I supposed to do when we don't have any birthday cake? It's downright Lord of the Flies over here, and nary a cake to be had.

    Everyone is in bed and grumpy, except me, I'm typing and grumpy.

    Good times.

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  6. "Maybe you’ll go to bed early. In the basement. In the furnace."

    Best line ever. I can relate. I'm contemplating making brownies just to soothe the beasts. Either that, or hop in the car and go far, far away. Haven't decided yet.

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  8. This post deserves a Pulitzer!
    :)

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  9. HM - That was delicious in so many possible ways. Awesome piece of "Piece."

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