The house was deeply quiet as everyone was asleep. Leaving the coolness of the window fan in her bedroom, she slinked out the door into the July heat of the hallway and a chorus of crickets. Her bedroom was closest to the kitchen. Creeping across the warn linoleum, she knew from foraging experience where to step to avoid creaks.

Opening the refrigerator door needed extra precaution, as the bottles of condiments always rattled and clanked against one another. So, she eased it open as gently as she laid her sleeping baby sister in its crib.

And there it was! Set right in the middle of the shelf, the refrigerator light illuminated the glossy white frosting. Pink rose confections adorned the top and blue frosting ribbons swirled up and down the sides. She instinctively knew all that sugary deliciousness concealed a dark, chocolate cake. She wanted to linger, but could hear her mother’s voice in her head, “Don’t stand with the fridge door open. You’re letting out all the cold air!”

Tomorrow she would be eight and that cake would be hers. Just before she closed the door, she poked her head inside the sweet coolness and whispered, “I don’t dare to stay long. I just had to see you.”

One thought on “The Cake by Linda McKenney

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