Friday, November 18, 2011

Give Me Pastries or Give Me Death

My mother, a button maker, used to make a button that said “I was about to end it all when God spoke to me in the form of a chocolate éclair.” I love this because it can be used in so many situations, chiefly “I was about to start jogging when….”

Actually, I did start jogging this week. In the rain and the cold, up hill and down dale, pausing only to blow my nose in a really sexy, athletic way or to yell at one neighbor “Oh GOD! What was I thinking?” I cheer myself on as the real joggers in their real jogging gear leave me behind in a wake of soggy leaves, at last bursting into the house, panting, hotter than hell, feeling terrific and clocking in at a full 12 minutes. Oh Jesus, I think, where are the pastries?

Maybe I was a pastry chef in a past life--- or a pastry. I can’t make them, but I can eat them. And they taste like love. Better, actually.

Donuts, scones, croissants, danishes, tarts, cupcakes, jelly rolls, pies, ladyfingers: the kind of love you can buy for the price of a cup of coffee—and eat with one.

Of course my pastry-tooth comes with a price. The price of my thighs. The price of the jiggle and the squish. The price of the piles of jeans mounting like the dead in the corner of the dressing room stall. The price of the sugar highs and lows. The price of Snow White’s Queen who envies, instead of a step-daughter, her own 23-year-old self who had no idea how beautiful she was- or could be.

When I was 23 and working on a cruise ship in Alaska, the chief steward found a ripped open cardboard box of muffins in the storage closet behind the galley. “What kind of wild animal did this?” he asked. It wasn’t me, but I knew what kind of wild animal it was and could be. The wild animal who craves sweetness when she can’t give it to herself.