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Short Story 46

His seven-layer cake only had six layers. There was something about that idea that put him mildly out of humor. Giving in to the fact that it was already purchased and sitting in front of him, he cut into it with the plastic fork that had come with the slice and let it past the threshold of his mouth. All the while, as he ate, there was a distinct feeling that the missing layer had somehow influenced the cake itself. Taking a second bite he came to the conviction that it had in some way changed from the memory irreconcilably.

A seven-layer cake with only six layers, a flavor he knew very well was different in just the wrong way. Tossing the fork it clattered into its plastic container with a halfhearted protestation. Memories were like that at times. Eroding, decaying. There was nothing that could be done to stop them from doing so. At times all you could do was seek those fated moments and find yourself wanting for what once had been and now no longer was.

Standing Ira took the cake and tossed it into the trash, a resentful line etched into his mouth. It was all nothing anyway. All meaningless. Memories were a sham, a faded, aged image of something you couldn’t have.

Grabbing his bag he began down the street away from the small park where he had gone to eat that afternoon. Disappointment following behind, filling every translucent footstep left on the sidewalk, cloaked in the shadows of the tree-lined street. He couldn’t admit to himself how upset it had really made him. It had a stigma to it, a burning rejection searing the negativity that suggested more hurt than the heart wished to admit to.

Ira kept walking, though the further he got the more aimless his progression. Work was done for the day. His evening classes were still well over two hours off. But, walking felt better than that taste left on his palate and it blurred the thought of it.

Diverting he entered a coffee shop. The line was long but moved quickly. When he got to the front he ordered something simple and hot. Something to wash away the flavor that was lingering and impervious to saliva. It was warm as it flooded through his mouth, past his teeth, and down his throat. The taste had migrated, but the feeling of it was still there no matter how many mouthfuls of liquid he took.

Finally, it was empty, the paper cup hanging at his side. His footsteps lacked focus. He wasn’t trying anymore to pretend he had anywhere to go. Raising the cup he looked through the small oval in the plastic lid and thought back to the cake and what he had been looking for.

“Do you like it, Ira?”

His mouth twitched at the recollection. No, spice cake had never been his favorite. Seven or even six layers was too many, but it had tasted good in his memory.

He went to a metal trashcan hesitating to throw in the cup. Maybe, it wasn’t the cake he had enjoyed that day. Maybe, it was the company that had made it taste so good and, maybe, the lack of it now was what had caused it to be so disappointing. It was difficult to decide, so much time had passed it was impossible to make an interpretation. Tentative his hand relaxed allowing the disposable cup to roll from his grasp into the dark depths of the trash can.

The subtle wish lingering. His want to return to that moment and be with that person that no longer existed in the present. That person who made something he hated so much taste so good. Knowing very well it was a day he could never return. Turning he walked away.


Thank you so much for reading everyone!!

Prompt Sentence: His seven-layer cake only had six layers

Word Count: 636

©DecemberKnight 2023

Special thanks to American Heritage Chocolate from Unsplash for the use of the image!

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