“I just need a few more minutes, okay? Just… just go on without me. I’ll meet you there,” Nikki yelled over her shoulder for maybe the eighth time. Frank, her husband, indicated his frustration with what was becoming his least favorite ‘tick’ recently developed by his beloved wife of 15 years. In all that time, save the last year, Nikki had always prided herself on being punctual, something Frank admired greatly. And then, she had discovered baking. From her very first cheesecake, Nikki had slowly developed a bit of neurosis, one in which she never felt quite satisfied with her work. Whether it be the thickness of the icing or the flourish of her garnishes… it never felt quite right.
This of course led to an accumulation of events, dinner dates, PTA meetings and social engagements in which Nikki was decidedly late to. And it was driving Frank insane. They were due at his kid sister’s college graduation dinner about half an hour ago and Nikki couldn’t stop obsessing over the stupid cheesecake she had promised to make. Moving closer to look over his wife’s shoulder to get some idea of how much longer she might be, Frank leaned in and peered down at the dessert.
It looked professionally made but that wasn’t enough for Nikki, she needed to add ‘her touch’ as she referred to it. ‘Her touch’ for this occasion was in the form of three butterflies crafted from lemon wedges and peel flitting across the top of the cheesecake. They looked lovely, delicate and sweet, and Frank for once felt a swell of pride in his wife’s work. “Those look pretty,” he said softly, giving Nikki’s shoulder a supportive squeeze.
“Pretty? Great… now I’m going to have to start all over!” Nikki exclaimed as she plucked the lemon butterflies off of the cheesecake and threw them in the sink. “I was going for enchanting or whimsical, dainty even… but pretty? I might as well just toss the entire thing!”
Knowing it was best to just keep quite in this situation; Frank silently backed away and left the kitchen. He’d wait fifteen minutes, let her get it all out and then pop back in to see if she had snapped out of it. Sitting down in his easy chair and clicking on the TV, Frank felt relieved that he wasn’t afflicted with any artistic or creative inclinations, they made people nuts as far as he was concerned.
As he flipped through the channels, he wondered if he should have tried to be a bit more vocal from the beginning of this baking endeavor. Had he have spoken up then, perhaps things would be a bit more manageable now. Unfortunately that ship had sailed, as they say, and he had missed the proverbial boat. “Oh well,” he muttered wondering if Nikki had recovered her senses yet in the kitchen. A large part of him hoped she had made good on her threat to toss the entire thing.
The fact of the matter was, Nikki was a horrible baker and Frank well… he just didn’t have the heart to tell her.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: Whew! I felt like I was running my own catering biz today as I hustled to whip up enough baked ziti to feed an army, a homemade cheesecake and brownies for tomorrow which is the day of filming for Andy’s short film. I probably spent more time on everything than I really needed to, but my perfectionist persuasion took over and before I knew it I was individually packaging each brownie in wax paper and a ribbon and spending over half an hour garnishing my cheesecake. I don’t care though, that stuff makes it fun and frankly, I like making food look pretty. Hope it tastes as good as I think it looks… guess we shall see!
Love & Squirrels.