Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Up and Down (04/02/09)
TITLE: A Cake Half Turned
By Fiona Dorothy Stevenson
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I slid the pan into the oven and glanced at the clock as I closed the door. I wanted to phone my son to ask about my granddaughter’s test results, but as I set the timer I changed my mind. The ginger fluff sponge took only twenty-five minutes to bake, but when Tim and I got talking we seldom took less than an hour. I would leave the call till later.
Instead I tidied my mending into the sewing caddy, put the freshly ironed clothing into the wardrobe, and checked the mailbox. Fifteen minutes had passed. I flicked the oven light on and peered through the glass door. The sponge was rising well.
There was time to gather my notes together and take them to the computer. I had enough work prepared to enter another chapter of the study on the prophets for the Sunday school class. I was sorting the pages into order when I heard the front door open and my Best Beloved sang out, “I’m home. Where are you?”
Before I had time to reply he went on, “Something smells good,” and as I ran down the hall I heard the oven door creak open. “Looks good too..”
He looked up laughing as I reached the kitchen door. His voice faded and the laughter died when he saw my face. The oven door slammed shut. I leaned over and turned the temperature switch off. My beautiful ginger fluff sponge had become an extinct volcano. My highflying spirits dragged around my ankles.
I ignored the anxious apology and walked into the garden. Back inside I turned my computer on, and turned it off again. There were no tears, no anger, no emotion. I just felt dead.
It was some time before I realized that my reaction was out of all proportion to the semi-disaster of a sunken cake. I thought of Ephraim, whose name means ‘double fruitfulness,’ yet the prophet Hosea refers to him as a ‘cake not turned,’ and I saw myself as a greater flop than the ginger fluff sponge.
My feet were as heavy as my heart but I made them carry me to the study where my Best Beloved was pecking at his computer keyboard. Around my paralyzed tongue I tried to justify my reaction, but the words got muddled in my teeth. I stood miserably until he reached out and pulled me to him. The tears and the words gushed together.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have reacted like that.”
“Its all right. I shouldn’t have opened the oven door,” he conceded. “But it’s not too bad. Come and see.”
Reluctantly I returned to the kitchen.
The man of the house had removed Vesuvius from the pan, lowered the high sides and chopped them into chunks. Then he filled the center with a bog of banana crème and piled the chunks on top, decorating his effort with quartered strawberries. It looked very artistic, not a bit like a cake half turned.
And it tasted delicious, too.
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