Now Serving Fresh-Baked Cookies

(flash fiction)

I’m making cookies from scratch and I’m confused. But I’m here, cookbook in hand and flour in bowl, pretending to be something I’m not. Because I’m in love with a boy and I’m losing him. He likes girls who cook from scratch, who are serene, who have ponytails that bounce when they walk. And he used to love me, even though I’m a different kind of girl; the kind of girl who curses when she trips, who orders takeout so often the delivery drivers say “what’s up” when they see her at concerts. The kind of girl whose hair is so curly, ponytail holders roll up and away from her hair and fly through the air like a hornet hopped up on nectar. But now when he looks at me, he sees what he’s missing and not what he’s got. And so I will make him love me again by making him cookies. I brought the cookbook with me into the grocery store and spent twenty-two dollars on exotic ingredients like baking soda and vanilla extract. Piling the contents of my cart onto the conveyor belt, I ignored the raised eyebrow from the cashier at the checkout. The one who knows me and knows my typical grocery cart holds makings for sandwiches, cheap wine, jars of spaghetti, and frozen lasagna. Now I am a domesticated tiger, embarrassed to be caught jumping through fire when I used to bite those who tried to tame me. Yet here I am. In love and in the kitchen. The cookies come out of the oven at the exact moment the doorbell rings: the boy is here. A kiss, followed by a hug, then I lead him by the hand to the kitchen. I’m making you cookies, I say. And he smiles the kind of smile you can’t ignore. His grin starts in his heart and dances in his eyes before it comes to rest on his face. He is happy, and he’s happy with me. I am his now, and he is mine and I am not quite myself and I know this and he knows this. But I want to be the kind of girl who is wanted by the kind of boy who now stands in my kitchen. And so I am, and so he does, and so we eat the cookies and so we stay in love for a little while longer.

erica-gerald-mason_optErica Gerald Mason is the author of the poetry collection i am a telescope: science love poems. Her poetry has been published or forthcoming in Silver Birch Press, Blue Lyra Review, Lunch Ticket, Zoetic Press, The Found Poetry Review, and HIV Here & Now Project. She blogs at www.ericageraldmason.com.