I wanted to experiment with two versions of a story.
This is version B, version A came two weeks ago and you can read it HERE.
Yes, Heddy bought a cake.
She chose the finest looking cake that she could see in the window.
The frosting held a thick, smooth matte finish.
Three layers, was the cake, each a cylindrical piece that fit, one on one top of another, in three filled sections.
The lowest layer was her favorite. With filling of hard brown chocolate fudge, the frosting on the bottom layer was blue, the color of the sky in her childhood memories when she would hide under the deck in her parents’ back yard in the summertime.
The next, second layer, was covered in a dark, ugly yellow frosting, the kind of yellow that penetrated one’s eyes with its absurd, burnt, egg-yolk shade. Worse still, the filling was a powdery vanilla cake, which Heddy knew about because she’d requested this specific.
On top of the yellow layer, which was itself on top of the sky blue layer, was the brightest white that could be pasted on frosting. This top layer was unique in that it was all frosting. Six inches high, a diameter of 4 inches, the frosting was packed tight yet ready to crumble at the first prick of a knife.
The cake had to be kept in a cool room with a temperature of not more than 65 degrees, nor lower than 45 degrees. Fahrenheit.
Heddy picked up the cake in the middle of the night, the manager of the bakery quietly standing by the back door while she entered and carried the box by herself. The box was two feet high and a foot wide, just big enough to hold the cake. She didn’t ask for help, but the manager offered anyway. He liked her, thought she had a “fun” smile and a happy disposition. Quite the opposite of his own.
But that was the effect Heddy seemed to have on everyone, especially at this late hour.
The bus driver picked her up because she saw Heddy walking down the street, smiling and bopping. More dancing than walking, actually.
The Super of Heddy’s building agreed to make her an extra copy of her keys, despite it being against policy, because Heddy smiled and baked him a cookie.
Carrying the cake home, Heddy looked forward to staying awake until dawn. Dawn was the best time of day, to her, as she would slowly drift to sleep in the morning after a long night of planning.
She was a planner, always had been. She planned everything from her route to work to her meticulous shopping lists, from how she’d tackle homework in school, as a child, to how her wedding day would play out. Soon, she hoped, wondering just how much dust her “wedding plans” notebook had collected over the last two years.
Tonight, though, she carefully carried the cake up her building’s staircase. She opened the door and quietly unwrapped the cake, set it on her kitchen counter. The layers were perfect, the colors superb, and in this light,t he cake looked like a work of art, but one of true genius.
She stayed awake, watching the cake as her apartment warmed in the night. When she finally fell asleep, at that great dawn hour, the cake had melted to half its original height and puddled in the large bowl that was its setting. By mid-day, Heddy woke to the entire bowl nearly full.
She smiled, removed her dentures, and sipped the puddled cake until it was gone completely. She burped out her joy, then walked to work, smiling with her dentures shining brightly in the sun of summer. Today was another good day, because at the office they’d baked her a cake for her birthday, so she had a second helping of cake — only one piece, this time.
For birthday, as she did every year, Heddy ate a cake. This year, she ate two.