Friday, March 18, 2011

Katie McMahon - You Are Not What You Eat.

I won a cake in the Easter cake raffle when I was in seventh grade. It was a coconut cake and I wanted to keep this cake for myself and hide it in my bedroom so I could eat the entire thing. But it's hard to hide a big white cake box when you walk into your house that you share with your brother and two parents who watch everything you eat.

Still, they never watch after you're done.

If I can sneak slivers that are smaller than pieces or paper thin slices that you wouldn't even bother putting on a plate, then maybe no one will even know. Maybe she won't say anything about it. And after all, it's my cake and I won it. It's not my fault they called my number. If I didn't claim the cake, who knows what they would've done with it? The thought of that coconut cake, shaped like the Easter Bunny, sitting in the back alleys of my neighborhood with melting snow surrounding it makes me ache deep, deep, deep in my stomach. Truthfully, I don't even know if we have alleys. Just the thought of it makes me... hungry. Makes me cry for no reason.

So the cake sits on the kitchen counter and everyone is happy. My mom can't eat sugar because she's diabetic, so it's between me and my brother and my dad. My brother mostly likes to eat pizza. I don't think he even likes cake. My dad eats lots of sugar and sometimes he's had so much to drink, he doesn't even know that he's eating it. This is perfect, because if I can sneak into the kitchen when everyone is asleep or watching television, I can take a knife and cut tiny pieces of coconut cake and throw them quickly into my mouth. Then I can carefully and quietly wipe down the knife and place it back into the drawer to sleep next to the other knives. Metal against metal. Please, please don't make any loud sounds. If anyone says anything about how the cake is disappearing, I can blame it on my dad. I can even blame it on him if he asks me why the cake is slowly getting smaller and he will yell or threaten to throw the cake away, but I know that he is secretly asking himself if he ate it, and when, and how sad it is that he cannot remember the taste.

While I love the coconut Easter Bunny cake so much, I also hate it and want to throw it at a wall or pick it up and drop it on the ground and smash it with my feet. The cake is all I can think about. I obsess over it. I want to eat it all and then feel sad about it being gone. I want to freeze it and eat it again in twenty years. I feel like I will never see another cake again. I know that I will never win a cake again, or anything for that matter.

I want to wake up in the morning and crack two eggs into a frying pan, in hope that two tiny little Easter Bunny cakes will fall out and I can cook them up and slide them onto my plate while everyone else is still sleeping. I grab the salt shaker and shake it over the tiny cakes and flakes of toasted coconut find their home in the frosting.

I cannot sleep because the cake is in my dreams. The cake speaks to me in my sleep. It stands upright and asks me, "Do you wish I had been a carrot cake or a chocolate cake with walnuts?" I shake my head violently back and forth and throw my hands up. "Why do you hate me so much?" Oh, cake! I don't hate you, I love you! I hug it tightly and the frosting smashes into my shirt and the coconut flakes get stuck in my hair. How will I hide this mess? I need to throw the cake away. I will tell my mom it got old or I gave it to a homeless man. I grab a handful and shove it into my mouth. Then, I take the big white flimsy box outside and place it carefully into the trash bin. I lift open the top and smudge the bunny's eyes closed.

I feel the tiny pieces weighing heavy in my stomach. I feel them turning into big, fat blobs on my stomach and my butt and my legs and my face and I scream, wishing I had never won that stupid cake. It's ruining my life. Why couldn't I have won something else like a new bicycle or a smelly candle or anything else at all?

All the other girls in my school are sitting at home eating spaghetti or doing their homework or thinking about boys and here I am with this stupid fucking cake. Congratulations, congratulations, oh how great! How miserable.

I feel sad like crying... like hugging and not kissing, like taking hot baths, like screaming into pillows, like putting on ten pairs of socks, like going to church and blowing out all the candles people have lit for dead people or sick people or people who have no problems at all and want it to remain that way.

What do you wish I had been? A girl with green eyes or a boy with curly hair and straight teeth? Why don't you hug me so hard that I smush into your body? What do you do with all the pieces and slivers of me that you cut off in the middle of the night? Put them back before I wake up. Put them back before I grow old and they don't fit anymore.

Katie McMahon is a lady who lives in the North Hollywood area. She has a bachelor's degree that she keeps on her bookcase and looks at sometimes. She is getting a master's degree to put on her nightstand. Sometimes she takes pictures which you can look at here, but you don't have to if you're busy right now.


  1. I remember being obsessed with the cake walk at school and the fact I wasn't allowed to play. I watched all those people walk away with big, beautiful cakes and I had nothing but a bag full of plastic parachuting army men and whoopie whistles. I, too, love cake. And hate it.