on Cakes, Husbands, and Time


Dear Future Husband,

you can’t just show up one fine day and say, well here I am, let’s do it.

You know, it takes time to bake a cake.

You can’t just take the ingredients – flour, milk, eggs, butter, sugar, baking powder – throw them in a bowl, and say “Voila, a cake! Let’s eat it.”

You know, because it would be raw.

And yes, it’s a bit thrilling to eat some of that raw mix straight from the bowl and off of the spatula, because we can. The raw texture of the flour, where the lumps burst through the cool milk, a hit of sugar, the silkiness of the beaten egg along your lips and tongue…yes.

But that’s not really a cake you’re eating. And if you eat too much of it while it’s still raw, well that cake will never get baked, because we’d just run out of stuff too soon.

Slow and steady wins the race. A good cake needs time to bake.

It’s not just about folding in new ingredients in a caring and gentle way at the right times – the right time comes only when preceded by the requisite actions before. For example, you cannot fold an egg into the milk any time you wish – it won’t work – you can only fold the egg when the milk is blended with the other ingredients – and not a moment before.

Once the mix is done and you stick it in the oven, it takes time for the cake to turn just the right shade of golden-brown with the top feeling springy to the touch. Move it up out the oven too soon and you got a strange, half-cooked mess that nobody can enjoy, let it sit too long and it’s a rock (like most of my non-metaphoric cakes are…which is why I stick to muffin-baking because then I can just refer to them as biscuits).

As the cake takes its time baking in ye olde oven, we can enjoy its fragrance wafting all around us, filling us with delight, happiness and even joy. A sense of bonhomie and comfort permeates everyone in the proximity of this slowly but definitively baking cake.

Once done just right, we set the cake out to cool for awhile.

As it cools, the sight and scent fill your senses with anticipation, optimism and a feeling of security. That cake is certainly there, and it will indeed be eaten and enjoyed by all at Home.

If you hog the entire cake in one sitting or scoff too large a chunk, you’ll get a belly-ache or a sense of weird empty regret.

Far better to enjoy it in small doses, a quick bite when you come home from work, a tea-time snack together, a shared-slice over morning-coffee, a midnight delight.

When you lay somewhere dying (hopefully a cornfield and not a hospital), you’ll think back to how you took all that lovely sweet time mixing up the ingredients, then placing it with a quiet confidence in the warmed-up oven, and you’ll recall with a smile the sexy cake-smell wafting through the door and out the french windows and onto the veranda and even the garden, the joyful anticipation of eating the cake alone and together, and the ceremonious enjoyment of each and every slice and morsel. A life defined by moments with and memories of that delightfully abundant cake!

And the ingredients? What might they be in this allegorical story? Well the people we are at the time our paths cross, everything we did, everywhere we went, everything nudged us slightly onto the path towards each other, until we were ready to be blended. And, albeit transformed, we continue to be two individuals, who take the time to bake a beautiful cake together.

So why rush things? Let us give this cake the time it deserves, to create an exquisite work.

But time is a flowing river and a moment gone past can never be regained. Every minute gone past spent on goodness knows what, is a minute less available for a lazy afternoon bake-up.

I’m not exactly waiting by the window, shaken occasionally out of my reverie by the crunch of your steps on gravel, or snow, or leaves, or the low squeal of a gate opening, or a bird alighting on a bush and shaking some leaves loose,  or the sound of a car door closing, or the sweet clink of keys about to turn in the lock or any of that.

I continue on my path not really knowing if you took a small detour or veered off the path entirely because this is somehow not interesting to you. Or maybe you decided to take the scenic route – somehow my heart just knows that you’re on your way.

But even if you are my destiny in this department and the universe sent you straight from the galactic core to my doorstep, I will still want to take it r-e-a-l slow and let it build organically so all the bits and pieces are solid and properly ‘done’ before the next level, before I am ready.

So we don’t want to rush that cake and resign ourselves to a half-baked one because we didn’t have enough time left, do we?

So don’t take too long darling, else the eggs will go bad and vegan cakes are simply pointless.

sincerely yours,
your future wife.

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