Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Taste (07/15/10)
TITLE: A Taste of Menopause
By cheryl schoenberger
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Only Alan’s sheepish brown eyes were visible peering over his morning newspaper shadowing my steps to and fro. Over the last year, he had learned that speaking to a pre-caffeinated menopausal woman was a dangerous venture.
“I’m sorry honey, I guess I’m a little grumpy this morning. I tossed and turned all night.”
“It’s ok, don’t worry about it,” Alan retorted as he handed me the newspaper. “What time did you say your parent’s anniversary party is tomorrow night?”
“Oh no! I almost forgot, I planned on baking the cake today. Uhh… it’s for 7.”
“Did you happen to notice how small the print was in the paper this morning? Do you think that they changed the font size?” I asked holding the paper out arms length, squinting and attempting to read.
Determined to leave for work without an argument, Alan smiled and plopped a kiss on my forehead as he exited with, “I’m late for work dear, I’ll see ya tonight.”
The morning progressed without a hitch. The first stop was a grocery run to gather the cake ingredients, followed by collecting Charlie and Buzz Lightyear from the preschool at noon.
Back at home, Charlie and Buzz settled down to watch Toy Story for the hundredth time, as I hoped to have an uninterrupted hour or two to bake the cake.
“Maw-Maw, can I help make the cake for the party?” Charlie asked licking his finger as he swiped the batter bowl.
“Sure sweetie, get the sugar out of the pantry for me please.”
After a few minutes, the patter of little sneakers on the wood floor finally produced the small, plastic canister of sugar, and the cake was baked and decorated.
All was ready for the special evening, a celebration of commitment, as my parents renewed their vows.
Elegant candelabra’s with red roses and baby’s breath illuminated the way as my mother walked down the brick path to the decorated gazebo. After the vows were exchanged, my apprehension began to fade, as I smiled watching my parents dance to their favorite song, Mona Lisa. All was well with the world, until the perfect evening quickly took an unexpected downward spiral. Karen, my sister-in-law, rushed over with a look of utter horror on her face holding a piece of cake on a napkin. I said a quick prayer and braced for the worse.
“Have you tasted the cake?” she asked frantically.
“No,” I replied. “Why?”
“Taste it,” she insisted, shoving a piece in my mouth.
“It tastes bitter and a little salty,” I commented perplexed.
“Oh no! I must have added salt instead of sugar. How could I have done that! Charlie handed me the canister labeled sugar. This doesn’t make any logical sense to me,” I exclaimed.
“Oh my, unless I poured salt into the sugar canister, when I refilled it last week, in one of my brain fogs.”
One by one the guests all around the room began tasting the cake and contorting their faces into grimacing expressions.
"I’ve ruined my parent’s party. How could I have done this? I can’t believe this is happening!"
“Honey, wake up, are you ok?” Alan asked gently shaking my shoulder. "You must have dozed off on the sofa, while you and Charlie were watching a movie."
“Remember Maw-Maw? You said you were going to rest your eyes for five minutes before you baked the cake,” Charlie quoted.
“What day is it?” I asked rubbing my eyes and stretching still confused.
“It’s Friday, all day.”
“Friday and not Saturday… that means I didn’t ruin the party. It was a dream. All a dream! Thank you God,” I exclaimed with relief.
“I came home early to take you and Charlie out to dinner sweetie. You seemed so tired this morning,” Alan commented rubbing my back.
“Oh that would be wonderful! But first I need to make a quick phone call.”
“Ok God, thanks for the heads up,” I thought as I sprinted to the kitchen to retrieve the phone number. “Hello, is this Yvonne’s Bakery? Is it too late to place a cake order for tomorrow night?”
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