The warm, Memphis-in-July air was flowing through the screen door. The sun was shining brightly through the windows, creating pale amber stripes on the floor. The sky was clearly giving beauty to the crayon named, "sky blue".
Everything was calm and relaxed. I puttered through the house, knowing Sarah and Josh shouldn't take too long to come over so we could start the party.
That cake! I could hardly wait to taste it. Where did she find it? It's so different. Who knew frosting could look so weird? I love Cookie Monster!
The square, folding-leg table they used for late night card games with the neighbors was covered by a white table cloth and had birthday paper plates with some napkins, forks, and cups. Not many, though, because there weren't many of us. The only true decoration on that table was the Cookie Monster cake. The brilliant, truly Cookie-Monster blue wasn't even a shade off, and somehow the frosting actually looked like it was shaved off the back-side of that famous Sesame Street muppet. His eyes were big, round, and precisely askew. And, those two giant chocolate chip cookies shoved in the mouth, half in and half out? Perfection.
That cake was given to me on my 7th birthday. The memory of that cake is so clear to me, and I remember it being one of the happiest memories of my childhood. This post by fringes today had me recalling that day once again, as I have so many times when people recall fond moments from their childhoods. I never really gave much thought as to why that cake stands out so much for me, why it is permanently displayed in my "happy thoughts" section of my brain. I can't really recall if I even loved Cookie Monster so much before that day, but I know that I have always loved him since. I believe I have finally figured out why that day was special enough to create that lasting impression.
At 7 years-old my mom and dad were together, happily together it seemed. They had fights, but the fights hadn't gotten violent yet, at least not in my presence. Our dog didn't limp from his hip-joint replacement because he hadn't been thrown across the room into a wall by my father. My mom was perfect; she hadn't gotten to the point in physical suffering that she had to go to the hospital for a hysterectomy, during which I cried and worried more than I knew I could because the hospital and surgery were scary things that didn't always turn out alright. My dad was just my dad; he hadn't yet decided to teach me about his anatomy or intimate interactions between males and females, things I was not allowed to tell anyone else about.
By my 8th birthday, none of those things were still true.