by Abigail Swanson
White frosting gleamed like bird poop in the middle of the road. Wrinkles from when she pulled off the tinfoil squished the cursive “Jenna and Jeremy” to an indecipherable black mass in the center. But hey, it looked pretty good for a three-year-old piece of cake. Better than she did.
Trees lining the county road chirped with birds. Robins swooped over the new offering. Could birds get sugar rushes? Jenna vetoed rice at the wedding to avoid having bloated birds on her conscience, no matter how much Jeremy’s mom complained. Maybe she should clean up her mess afterward, just in case.
Jenna reversed the car a few yards down the county road. She hadn’t wanted to save the stupid cake anyway but Jeremy’s mom insisted.
“Soak it with bourbon and it’ll keep like a dream in the freezer. You’ll want it for your anniversary.”
The woman cut their names straight out of the center of the sheet cake like she was afraid the five guests who showed up would claw right past the cut and plated side pieces and ruin any hope of a lovely anniversary.
So what if they did? It was just a court wedding. She didn’t even wear a white dress.
At least Jeremy agreed with her. He threw that slab of cake to the back of the freezer and forgot it existed. She only rediscovered it yesterday.
Jenna put the car in drive. And back in neutral. What would Jeremey’s mother say?
“If you didn’t want it, you should have said. How will you handle kids if you can’t even take care of a cake?”
Of course, she’d never say that. The woman just pinched her lips and aimed thought daggers at Jenna’s soul.
A bird landed beside the cake. Greedy thing would stick itself in the frosting. Jenna hit the horn and the bird flickered back to the trees.
She would make a great mom, whatever Jeremey’s mother said.
Jenna shifted back to drive, but kept her foot planted on the break. Was it really worth covering the car in cake bits? She’d come this far. What would she do, wrap it back up and return it to the freezer? That would make Jeremy’s mom judge her more than just murdering a cake.
The woman kept strong opinions on decision making. “Go right or go left. There’s too many flat birds in the middle of the road.”
Well then. If anyone asked, Jenna just followed Jeremy’s mom’s advice like a good daughter-in-law.
Her foot landed on the gas. Birds scattered from the trees. The car flew into the cake like an airplane hitting a runway. The front tire plowed a pass through the white sugar and the rear tire impressed perfect tracks through their black frosted names.
She should have done this sooner.
The ruins glowed like Grecian architecture in the rearview mirror.
Jenna grabbed the crumpled foil from the center console and swung the car door open. She walked back to scavenge the cake remains. Hey, she might need it again next year.
Abigail J. Swanson edited the 2021 edition of Tenth Street Miscellany. She writes across all genres and is currently teaching English as a second language in the Middle East. Abigail loves cheesecake and climbing trees.