A Tire Swing Story is a bite-sized "imagining" inspired by an object I discover while wandering. It could be a curbside trash gem or a message sprayed on a wall. A lost mitten, or an antique store find. Anything goes. I photograph the object and post them together, the story and its inspiration. There will be a new story every Monday and Wednesday. On Fridays, I'll discuss writing, life, love, and coffee. (In no particular order and maybe all at once.)

Monday, August 1, 2011

There is a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. The cake has 31 candles, one for each year of her life. She carries it to a table covered with a white tablecloth and sets it down.

She is blonde, thin, pretty in a sparse sort of way. Her name is Darling. She's always hated the name, but could never bring herself to go by anything else. And so her whole life its been: "Darling this," and "Darling that." 

Darling sits on one of the chairs and admires the cake. The icing is thick and creamy and has little dips and peaks like water. Maraschino cherries sit on top with their stems in the air. The sides of the cake are coated with dark chocolate shavings. It is a Black Forest cake, the second one Darling has ever made. 

Last year was the first. She remembers the hours in the kitchen puzzling over the recipe, the counter covered in icing sugar and flour. And finally there was cake, like a miracle, a beautiful thing she had made. She lit the 30 candles and carried it to the table. And John had been sitting there, waiting. 

But when it came time for Darling to make a wish and blow out the candles, something happened. John starting talking. His words came out in a rush like he'd been holding his breath. 

"Darling, it's not going to work between us," he said.

She sat in her chair staring at the bright bits of flame until the candles had all melted and ribbons of wax covered the cake.

But this year, she is alone at the table. And this second cake is all hers. Darling lights each one of the candles, closes her eyes and makes a wish.

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