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The cake and the kitchen

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The cake and the kitchen
CINDY GLANCED nervously at the clock on the
kitchen wall. "They should be home any time now,"
she thought as she put the finishing touches on
the chocolate cake. It was the first time in her 12
years she had tried to make a cake, and it wasn't
exactly an aesthetic triumph.


 The cake was . . .
well, lumpy. And the frosting was bitter, as if she
had run out of sugar. Which, of course, she had.
And then there was the way the kitchen looked. 
But Cindy wasn't thinking about the mess. She
had created something, a veritable phoenix of
flour and sugar rising out of the kitchen clutter
She was anxious for her parents to return home
so she could present her anniversary gift. She
turned off the lights and waited excitedly in the
darkness. Her parents tried to slip in quietly, but
Cindy flipped on the lights and gestured grandly
toward the kitchen table, where a slightly off-
balanced two-layer chocolate cake awaited.
But her mother's eyes never made it all the
way to …