The lingering scent of chocolate hung in the air. The scent was so faint you hardly realized it was chocolate at first, what it smelled more like was molasses. I don't know how this had happened as I meticulously followed all the instructions. I put the brownies in the oven, and set the oven to the prescribed temperature. I even checked and rechecked if the brownies were ready to be eaten by sticking a toothpick in each one. Afterward, I sat at the kitchen table, thumbing through a lifestyle magazine. I pressed my knees together. I checked the oven every two minutes. I waited.

I realize now that baking is a lot like childbirth. There is a lot of waiting involved, and therefore, anticipation. At the end of it, you are either left with a wave of fulfillment or awful sadness. I was filled with both. My brownies sat in a row on the table, hungry like deprived children. Some of them were burnt or lopsided. Some of them had soft, moist bodies. I was about to bake some more until I realized I had no time. Bobby was coming home. Forty five minutes later he arrived and I put a blindfold over his eyes. Then I untied the blindfold so he could see what I had done for him, for the both of us. It took us five minutes to make it from the the front door to the kitchen, and in those five minutes I led him with slow, clumsy steps.

"What's this?" Bobby said.

"It's our anniversary," I cheered. "Happy Anniversary!"

Gently, I scooped up a brownie and held it to his lips. The brownie was still warm, like human skin, and it looked so tiny in my hand that I cupped it with two palms. "Come on, open up, Bobby. Don't be rude. I baked this for you. Say 'ah'. Open it, open it."

Bobby didn't open his mouth. He looked away and he sighed, deciding to be rude after all. I put the brownie down. I was heartbroken. If the brownie were a child, it would've felt heartbroken too, by extension. Bobby took my hand, and he kissed the back of it, and he smiled very sadly and suddenly I knew. I knew what was going to happen. I could picture it in my head. It came to me in flashes, waves upon waves of overwhelming sadness: an empty closet, a worn baseball glove, an unmade bed. I stared at him, then at the brownies, then at the table, and then at him again. It was like I was seeing him for the first time, and what I saw made me want to die.

I said, "It's okay. We don't have to talk.", and dumped the brownies in the trash. They stayed there for weeks, covered in flies.

StarPoet   StarPoet wrote
on 2/24/2009 12:41:13 AM
Great writing here. Mature subject and you told it well. I also liked the finish. Will be looking for more from you.

Short Story
writing proboscus
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"My brownies sat in a row on the table, hungry like deprived children. "
A Word from the Writer
I wrote this one for a flash fiction writing contest wherein your story with the phrase "the lingering scent of chocolate"