The day I locked eyes with my stepmother in that brief instant, I knew that I had doomed myself into an existence of doom, dread, misery, and cake. She really, really wanted to bake and had asked around for help and I was not listening intently, so we looked at each other and was hypnotized by guilt.
“You will help me,” she said standing on top of the table so she could create a shadow that covered me entirely. I shivered in anticipation.
“Please forgive me,” I said and put myself on all fours. I tried it all: begging, beseeching, crying, barking, and pretending I was a dog waiting for a belly rub. But she didn’t rub me at all, she grabbed me in her strong, motherly arms, and dragged me to the kitchen.
“The cake speaks, I need it,” she said. Cake of ass, I thought and laughed at my own hilarity.
It all went in. No matter how much one tried to explain or lecture, my mother put everything in the bowl. Nuts and creams, paprika and nopal, pepper, and avocado, a cup of sea salt and toothpaste, milk from a goat and milk from a pig, a hornet’s sting and a little bit of lime.
“Mother, stop, please, I love you, stop!” I said to no avail.
She baked it anyway and she forced me to watch her abomination. She forced me to watch the entire endeavor, from the preparation to the baking, to the eating. I closed my eyes and ten moments later, she was dead with as much cake as she could muster lodged in the throat. Her blue eyes remained open and they watched me still. Continue, they said, continue what I started.
After the caked funeral, everyone was feeling pretty well down, me, myself, and I. But I refused to continue her wishes. She dragged me into this in life but I wasn’t going to do it in death. Why would I? I thought buying a cake would be enough. That was enough.
But as it turned out, cake is not supposed to taste like astringent plant-based diarrhea, but it can actually be sweet. Tasting that sweet buttery smell, those endless amounts of fruity flavors, and all the sugar, the sugar!, how didn’t we ever think of it? Why didn’t she, my mother, the cake freak?
I didn’t know.
So I decided to actually bake the cake the normal way, the way in which I could actually enjoy the use of my tongue by tasting it and then licking all the utensils. What a way to live, I thought, just licking everything you love and find sweet. When the cake was finally done, I could smell its delicious fragrance all across the kitchen. Is this the way that cakes were actually supposed to be? I didn’t faint, I didn’t curl in a ball, and I didn’t close my eyes and waited for the nightmare to be over. Mother, why did you left me with these strange and demonic lessons?
“You know why,” she said. I nodded as I grabbed my fork and sat down to eat and then I remembered my mother was dead and had been so for quite some time. It was actually kind of freaky that she would begin to speak right now.
“Mom, are you serious?”
“I’m actually always serious now that you know the truth,” her voice said. I knew where her voice was coming from, but I didn’t want her to know I knew.
“Thank you! I will acknowledge your contribution to my life. You are the best mom being able to accompany and advise in both life and death. No more reason for you to be here!” I said and I kissed the air where the imposing figure could have been if she had a body.
“But you have to look at me! Look at me!” she said and I finally, sighing heavily knowing what was coming, I looked into the cake. There it was, indeed, the face of my mother, replacing the top of my cake. Her wrinkled skin enveloped most of the stories making it seem like I was eating a chocolate cake! The nerve! I don’t like thinking of chocolate, while I’m eating strawberry.
“What are you doing here?”
“You know how it is. My recipes must live. They live on in you but you have refused to follow them,” she said.
“Your recipes are rat poison, mother. I sold them and made millions, that’s why I’m a successful, independent entrepreneur and you are dead!”
“Silly girl! You have tasted my creations, and you have tasted those deviations of sugary treats that pretend to be cakes, but no more! For every time you eat cake, I shall appear and give you the taste and flavor that you refuse to acknowledge you do not detest!” she laughed and threw the blueberries right at my face.
I cut her mouth from the cake so she would shut up, but she shrank herself so that her mouth appeared again.
“Futile, as always. You are nothing without me! Nothing!”
I cried a lot because I couldn’t believe that this could happen to me. I cried as my mother laughed and crept over me with her diabolic strawberry eyes as I left the room, sobbing. I then left the house, whining and whimpering, and then walked all the way to the cake store where the faces of my mother greeted me everywhere over and over again. She would not let me go.
I went back home and looked at her ugly dead face and decided this was it. I grabbed the cake as she laughed and chugged it completely down as she had done some time ago. She laughed maniacally as I ate her.
“Just like I did with my own mother! So this is how it feels!” she said, excitedly.
I choked and there I was with my mother in my throat, with the horrible aftertaste, my mother’s ghost satisfied at last that her horrible legacy had claimed another life. She left my body and me, being a very smarty person, vomited her up and threw her remains in the garbage where she belonged.
After that, she didn’t appear again in my cakes, but the event did make me want to become a baker for the rest of my life for some reason.