Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Over lunch, Cupcake had a question.

“What do you do on birthdays?”

”Whose birthday?” asked Cupcake’s friend, mostly hidden behind a menu.

“Someone from the past.”

Cupcake’s friend, mostly hidden behind a menu, didn’t hesitate.

”Nothing,” she said. “I think I’ll have the grilled octopus.”

“Even if the person meant a lot to you?”

”Nothing. Especially then.”

Bending her head to read it, Cupcake noticed that her menu was surprisingly blurry. It took her a second to realize that she was on the brink of tears.

“Maybe the minestrone?” said Cupcake’s friend. She closed the menu with finality sufficient to bring the waitress immediately tableside.

Her friend ordered with so much conviction that when the waitress looked at her hopefully, Cupcake could only say, “And I’ll have the same.” The truth was, she didn’t really care what she had for lunch.

Cupcake has noticed more than once that days blur into years with alarming frequency. She has also noticed that hours blur into days. Cupcake’s life is so full and rich now—and she is so busily involved in a life she spent a long time wishing for- that she sometimes loses huge chunks of time to a contentedness she had never known was possible.

But the fact of the matter is that the contentedness sometimes relies on the blurring. And when she stops and thinks, sometimes she realizes that she lost something precious along the way.

Sometimes, lurking in corners, or hidden under clothes in her dresser, or in a dust pile swept from under furniture, Cupcake will find a small salmon crystal bead, a tiny holdover from a necklace, once Cupcake’s favorite, that broke and exploded and was lost to time. Devastated at its loss, Cupcake had tried to salvage the beads she could find. She put them in a plastic bag, but she never got around to re-stringing them. And eventually the plastic bag was lost to time as well.

Yet the tiny pieces of salmon colored crystal still appear from time to time, minute reminders of a loss that Cupcake might have otherwise forgotten.

Every time she finds one, she misses the necklace. Badly.

But the rest of the time—when the little salmon-colored reminders do not pop up to remind her- she doesn’t think of that necklace much at all.

The grilled octopus and minestrone were delicious. Cupcake enjoyed her lunch and went back to work, and didn’t think about the birthday or the past, but went on about her day and her life in the happy blur of contentment.

Yet here’s a little salmon-colored crystal reminder. It’s the day, today, so signing checks and reading emails and looking at the calendar, Cupcake writes the dates, and knows, and remembers. And as her friend advised, she does nothing.

Except this.