< The Cake
Our wedding cake was fruitless. No one knew ‘till, hand over hand, we sliced through the icing, pristine as snow on snow, into the cavity where candied pecans and honeyed dates should be. We’d picked up the wrong one; that cake was only for display. I didn’t worry until later, during the dance, when Aunt Gill told me not to. “About the cake, my dear,” she whispered. “It-doesn’t-mean-a- thing.” She tapped the words on my hand like a spell and stepped into the throng. I stared after her for a moment, still as the plastic bride on the top tier. What an odd thing to say, I thought.
It turns out she was wrong.
When I was young, dumb as a lamb, and life was a two-headed coin, I’d fill my head with fantasies of the ‘making’ part of ‘making love’, the synergy of him and me (whoever ‘he’ was going to be), our bodies blending at the flash of cellular fusion, the gravity of what we’d done welding our tear and sweat-streaked limbs into a ball of flesh from which toe or knee could barely be discerned. When it happened for real, it was a 2002 Bendromach, cask strength and waking on the kitchen floor, undraped, and obscene. Sand-filled eyes shut tight against the brassy sun, you slid a hand up my spine and pressed me to your morning stand.
We were drunk for months after, on plans to renovate our home with pastels shades and soft corners, by abstract sounds that would become a name, by a thud the doctor called a heart, steady and strong as a drum.
But the sobering was swift and sure; the drumbeat stopped. Our baby had become just a lifeless mass, a clot to expel.
So now you're trussed up on the bed by the corduroys round your calves, barber striped tie pointing straight to what I want. I know lunch time is not convenient but according to the calendar, the almanac, the mercury, and the viscosity of slime between my legs, now is good. And you’re necessary, regrettably, so thanks for popping home. Just let me... yes...that’s it, like that. You’ll get a sandwich when you’re done.
Brutish rumbles from your throat though I barely feel the blows, and as you burst forth like a rocket to stars, the bones of your face melt under the skin collapsing your features, altering everything concretely you. For a second I’m watching a stranger defecate.
Hoisting myself up on my shoulders, I twist into shapes that might be erotic staged at leisure and with grace. Eyes like paper cuts, lying puddled next to me, you watch as folds of flesh concertina down towards my doubled chin. I don’t care. This is life and death, my dear. I’ll be your kittenish lover again, prettify myself for you, I’ll light the scented candles, use my mouth before you wake, when I’m sure it’s not just icing on a hollow wedding cake.
published 18 September 2016