Flash Fiction Runner Up : Elizabeth Raikes

But Lose No Hope

Word Count 421

I was making another batch of cupcakes. It was an inconsequential task in terms of world events, or even things that happened at home and that were to happen in the future, but it brought all the dissatisfactions of my marriage together.

            Cupcakes were his favourite and he liked them just so. As I beat the eggs (large) and sugar (golden granulated), I thought about how his eyes lit up when I produced the first lot. ‘I love cake, I love you,’ he had said. I had glowed with pride at my wifely potential. I weighed the flour (plain) and added exactly one teaspoon of baking power. These were actions I had repeated again and again. It reminded me of his stale recurring phrases, anticipated familiar gestures, and the same rhythm to the day, the weeks, and the years – ten of them. That meant, how many? Yes, 7,280 cakes, fourteen each week, allowing two a day to be eaten with tea at precisely 4pm.

I beat the eggs and sugar harder than ever.  I tried to banish all thought from my mind, but I couldn’t stop the visions of endless lines of vanilla cupcakes stretching into the future. I had had such hopes for my marriage. He was a good prospect my parents had said. But, its shelf-life that like of the yeast I used for the daily bread making was short. It was flat, akin to out-of-date flour. Like the beaten eggs and sugar mixture, I had been pounded into submission by the sheer mundanity of our existence.  

            This mixture was ready. I tasted it as usual. It brought back memories of my childhood – licking the bowl. I always thought it better than the finished product. It was like marriage. There was the excitement of the chase, reeling in the man and then the gradual deflation like the sinking middle of cakes when you can’t resist taking a peep while they are cooking. 

            This batch were now nestling in their paper holders (blue), each the same size. It was our anniversary, and I’d offered to make any cake in the world. But no, change was frowned upon, but change was what was needed. I was bored. I didn’t want to make any more cupcakes. I needed to take control. I would make just one more attempt to spice thing up before I made the appointment to see the solicitor. I laced the cakes with cannabis. It was a small act of rebellion, the future was just beginning.