Wednesday, October 15, 2008

In terms of cake

Let's say, just for the fun of it, that you're a huge fan of chocolate cake. You've loved chocolate cake your entire life and have never even wanted to try any other sort of dessert. In fact, you love chocolate cake so much that every Sunday, you go to your favorite bakery to buy a whole one, just for you. As long as you've got your chocolate cake, nothing else matters.

Then, one Sunday, there's a problem at the bakery.

"Sorry," says the bakery clerk, "but we haven't got any chocolate cake. What's more, there won't be any more chocolate cake ever again."

"But chocolate cake is all I want," you say.

"Why don't you have some strawberry cheesecake instead?" asks the clerk.

"No ... no, I don't think so. I'm really not interested in anything but chocolate cake."

"Look, lady, I told you, there's no more chocolate cake anywhere in the world," he says. "Try the strawberry cheesecake. Strawberry cheesecake is just as good as chocolate cake, only in a different way."

So you buy the strawberry cheesecake and take it home, and you have a slice. And there's nothing wrong with it as such, but it isn't what you really want. It isn't chocolate cake. You try another slice, to see if maybe it'll grow on you, but it still isn't chocolate cake. And pretty soon, you're feeling disappointed, not to mention a little bit sick, and wondering why you bothered.

Well, you think, I'll save the rest until the kids get home. They haven't had any sort of cake in a long time. It'll be good for them to have some. But when the kids get home and you offer them a piece of strawberry cheesecake -- "It's yummy!" -- they don't want it.

"We don't like strawberry cheesecake," they say. "Can't we have chocolate cake?"

"I wish you could," you tell them, "but chocolate cake is gone, so we all have to learn to like strawberry cheesecake instead."

So you keep strawberry cheesecake around for a while, hoping that it will eventually fit into your family, but it never does. And it isn't strawberry cheesecake's fault, not at all. It has a lot of good things to offer to strawberry-cheesecake fans -- a nice, crumbly graham-cracker crust, a rich creamy texture, juicy strawberries. But no matter what, strawberry cheesecake will never be chocolate cake, and you will never really be satisfied.

... Now, I just need to print this up on a little card and hand it to the next person who asks me "Why aren't you dating yet?"


jillian said...

sniffle, teary smile.

Humincat said...

I enjoy the way you describe things. I always wonder, will this be a friend I check in on in a couple years who has found that life is nice alone, but nicer with a friend, even if the friend isn't the one. OR will I check in to see that life is sweeter with memories than with replacements. No pity, just curiosity, and sadness for your loss.

marigold said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
marigold said...

I love this. Thank you for posting. Still very sorry you're living through this loss.