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The Cake by DA

a festive sprig


I had been to the Christmas market, busy people were milling around everywhere carrying bags of shopping, most of them didn’t appear to be particularly full of the joys of the season. To be perfectly honest I wasn’t feeling very joyful myself. I had tried to get to a stall selling rather pretty Christmas decorations but the crush was too great and the people around me were getting frustrated and bad tempered.

It all got a bit too much for me so I decided to divert into the town and ended up sitting in the upstairs room of a café in a quiet arcade. It was called “The cake of your dreams”. There was only one other person in there, a small man sitting in the corner nursing a coffee, newspaper spread out on the table. On the other side of the room was a large mirror taking up most of the wall, I could see the reflection of the man in the corner.

The waiter came and took my order, “A coffee and a cake to cheer me up please.” I said.

“You need cheering up at Christmas?” he asked. “It’s supposed to be a time of joy! Why are you sad?”

Now this wasn’t the usual kind of conversation I had with waiters but he seemed genuinely concerned so I humoured him.

“Oh well, you know it’s just that I can’t really get into the swing of it all, I’ve been worried about work, my relationships are all a bit shambolic and I’m just not feeling the spirit of Christmas this year.”

“But if you don’t enjoy Christmas then those around you won’t enjoy it either, you will seem like a little cloud of gloom and people will avoid you. This will make you feel worse! Joy is infectious, joy spreads joy.”

“Well yes, but what have I got to be joyful about really.. I mean.. um. What?”

“I can’t tell you that but there must be something, there’s this cake for a start!”

How he had managed to produce the cake and coffee out of nowhere I didn’t understand but there it was, all soft and lovely. It looked like the best cake ever.

I thanked him and started on the cake. It was delicious. As I chomped away I began to reflect upon the state of my life. Things weren’t that bad really, I was healthy, I had a nice home..

Just then there was a clatter and I looked up to see a girl I hadn’t noticed before, she was sitting in the window on the other side of the room, she had dropped her bag and all its contents were rolling around the floor. I went over to help.

As we chased after all her bits and pieces we started to talk and she told me about her worries and I told her about mine, but at no time did it feel like a moaning session, just two people chatting. It was lovely. I felt a lot better.

Eventually I remembered my cake and coffee and went back to my table to retrieve it. The coffee was cold and the cake had gone a bit dry, I didn’t realise we’d chatted for so long.

I turned to return to my new friend and found myself looking at the mirror, not the other half of the room but the same room reflected. There was the man in the corner, still nursing his single coffee.

I felt truly deflated, it must have been a daydream. I could have been truly joyful this Christmas if I’d really met a girl like that. Maybe I could meet a girl like that if I adopted a bit more of a positive attitude? Just then the waiter returned.

“Did the cake improve your spirits” he inquired.

“Well, it certainly gave me an idea.. I must have dropped off for a moment and dreamt I went through there” I pointed to the mirror. I expected the waiter to give me a “What are you talking about?” kind of look but instead he just smiled.

“It’s a nice place to go. But I think you need to find your joy in the real world. Keep your eyes and ears open.. especially if you visit our other café by the cathedral.”

I thanked him, paid the bill and left. I didn’t know there was another café like that by the cathedral but, as I was adopting a more positive attitude I thought I would go and see. As I rounded the corner I saw the place, it looked that same but it wasn’t called “The cake of your dreams”, this one was called “The cake of Joy”. These people certainly had a high opinion of their cakes!

The downstairs was crowded so, as before, I went upstairs. As I reached the top I heard a familiar noise and a lipstick rolled towards me.

“Ah, there you are!” I said, which may have been an odd greeting to a stranger, but it broke the ice and we enjoyed a coffee and another cake together.

Since then, with my new positive attitude, things just got better and better.

And of course we had the best Christmas ever!



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