I Think We're Alone Now

Monday, April 17, 2006

I sang "I Think We're Alone Now" for my fifth grade talent show.

And while I have aged quite a bit since then, Tiffany hasn't. She is as fabulous-looking as she was way back in the '80s. She doesn't even have a hint of wrinkle.

It's almost like she sucked all the electric youth out of Debbie Gibson.

Writing exercise

Sunday, April 09, 2006
Author's note: I dashed this off over the weekend for my creative writing group.
Some people who know me from way back when might think this is about a specific ex-boyfriend. It is not. This is fiction, and the characters are figments of my imagination.
I just happened to borrow the ex's car for the story, because a yellow Lexus is the universal code for pompous asshole.

Arch, loop, arch.
Arch, loop, arch.
I practice each move carefully, slowly, with rhythm.
Arch, loop, arch.
The pastry bag is moving and swelling inside my hand like a lover, forming to the inside of my palm like a second skin.
The chocolate wiggles its way out in thick, solid, inky lines.
“Nice swirls,” I bet he’d say.
For the first 15 minutes of class, we practice on graph paper covered in contact sheets. It’s easy to wipe away, erase, start over.
If only life was like that.
Here we strive for perfection. Each tiny pastry has to look perfect and pristine. Tiny works of art.
The way he always wanted me to look.
Fifteen after. Forty-five minutes left in class.
It’s time to try our technique on real cupcakes.
The spongy, buttery cake gives in to me, buckles under the blade of my knife. The icing is a feat of chemistry, little molecules that form a tremendous, inch-high skyscraper of sweetness.
The trick to good frosting is to continually move the cupcake while keeping the knife still, using the blade like a spatula.
It gets easier the more you do it.
Once I have a smooth layer of buttercream on all 12 specimens, I pick up the pastry bag again, plopping ski slopes of chocolate on top.
These are sweet, just like me.
The only difference is that he might actually want cupcakes.
For the first month, I drank a bottle of cheap red wine every night and existed on whatever I had in the pantry, usually stale crackers.
Slowly the desire grew for something different, something decadent. I gave myself over to the craving.
I make cupcakes every day now.
I think they’re such an interesting beast. Fanciful and embellished, bringing vivid color to even the blandest of days.
I love how they’re not a complete cake. And I love how the icing conceals what’s really inside, the way you never know what you’re getting until you actually dive in.
Monday was papaya-coconut cupcakes with ginger-lime cream cheese frosting.
Tuesday was cherry chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.
Wednesday was mint cream-filled cocoa cakes with raspberry mousse.
Today I’m doing a dark chocolate cake frosted with caramel buttercream, a drizzle of chocolate and toffee bits.
He hated toffee.
We used to really cook, he and I.
Baking together was better therapy than any of those bullshit weekend seminars he dragged me to.
We got along in the kitchen like chocolate and peanut butter. I was patient one, the sifter, separating all the crushed flour particles into mountains of powdery snow.
He was the beater, the mixer, inflicting pain on the eggs, butter, sugar.
We made this incredible red velvet cake once, that was at once moist and light -- truly like velvet on the tongue. We had a picnic in the park and brought along big hunks of the cake, which we devoured without remorse.
I thought he was going to propose.
He never did.
The day he left, we were standing next to his sunshine yellow Lexus. I thought I was just seeing him off for the night. He was thinking something longer, more permanent.
Three years together, and all I get is a shrug before he stuffed his hands in his pockets.
“I don’t think it’s going to work out.”
Of course not. Because it’s working out with the 20-year-old in his office.
After he drove away, I never got the chance to tell him how much his taillights resemble round, golden cupcakes.
I love how cupcakes are not a complete cake.
They’re little and fractured. Tiny parts of a whole. Waiting to be consumed.

New hair!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

This was taken in my car, fresh from a new haircut.

I feel like a movie star. Proof that sometimes, change is really, really good.

"And then the day came,
when the risk
to remain tight
in a bud
was more painful
than the risk
it took
to blossom."
-Anais Nin