I take you, Nut Cake with Cherries, to be my cake

It was two weeks before my son’s wedding when I found him looking like shit standing on our threshold.

“Oh, Derek, ehm…come in. Come in,” I encouraged him.

We sat down in the living room and Lauren made some tea. I gave her a hint to leave us alone – it’s a man’s talk. Without even touching his mom’s magical tea, Derek poured out his heart. Surely, he loved her and is devoted to her and “all that stuff” as he named it. But I could see doubt in his eyes. His lost gaze gave more away than he was willing to utter. All the what ifs and if onlys

“I just…” he shook his head and leaned back. “I just don’t know if I’m doing the right thing,” he concluded. “At the right time,” he added and silence fell.

I guess he expected a different reaction, probably some deep words of wisdom, some assurance, because his expression at my suggestion was priceless. I was quite amused. I stood up swiftly and repeated my offer as if nothing was wrong.

“Let’s have cake.”

“Dad, I don’t think it’s the right…”

“Leave the thinking to your old dad,” I smiled cheerily and was already making my way to get my coat.

“You coming?” I called getting red in the face as I was tying my laces. Unwillingly, Derek heaved himself up from the worn out couch and got ready as well.

“We are heading for cake, love,” I called to Lauren. I could only hear an approving “uhm” but in my mind I had a clear picture of her mischievous grin.

In a few minutes and with Derek’s constant grumble in the background we reached my favourite cake shop in town.

I approached the showcase and turned to Derek: “So what do you get?”

“Don’t know,” he shrugged.

“Come on, boy. Come closer and take your pick.”

“What do you take?”

“The nut cake with cherries.”

I saw Derek roll his eyes.

“What?” I smiled.

“You always take the nut cake…”


“Aren’t you fed up with it by now?”

“No,” I replied confidently.

At that Derek snorted. “But I mean ever since I can remember have you ordered the damn nut cake with cherries. For like the past twenty years…You never tried anything else.”

“Yeah, I know,” I said. “It’s just the best choice for me.”

“Yeah…but how can you know? They all look delicious,” he gestured at the cakes.

“Well, no doubt about that. I was never questing that,” I nodded.

He raised his eyebrows. “But I mean. Have you never been curious?”

“Well,” I thought for a while and then replied firmly: “No.”

“Not for a second?” Derek asked disbelievingly.

“Not for a second, son. Because I know I’ve made the best choice and I’ve never regretted it.”

“Yeah, but I mean…just a little bite of…something else…?”

“No, because I’ve never been disappointed by a single bite from this very same cake.” And quietly I added: “For over twenty years.”

“Why would you want to get something else when you already have the best?” I asked him.

“But what if…what if you find something be…” he stopped himself in mid-sentence, realizing how illogical his question would sound.

“There’s nothing better than the best,” I said catching the waitress’ eye.

Derek stared blankly into the showcase.

“As always, Mr Hopkins?” the waitress asked.

“As always, Lily.”

“And for you, Derek?”

“Me…I…coffee. Just coffee.”

“Just coffee then.”

When we got our order I happily picked up my fork and took a bite of my “oh-so-boring” choice. Derek was sipping his coffee, still looking rather puzzled.

“Look,” I put down the fork and tried to muster some dad-like seriousness. “I’m not saying the cake was 100% perfect each time but the point I’m…”

“Dad, would you please drop this cake rubbish. Who cares if you take the same cake each time…”

I ignored him and continued. “Each day…I mean each time I make the decision to take the same cake. And I’ve never regretted this decision. Sure, there have been days when it was a bit…hard on the edges or the cherries weren’t quite…well, fresh anymore. But the point I’m trying to make is that every time I know what I get. It’s always made according to the same recipe, which is as perfect as I remember it twenty years ago.” I left a silence.

“And I don’t want to go around chasing other…you know…cakes. It’s no point in that if I love what I’ve picked.”

Derek exhaled sharply. “That’s all nice, dad. But your taste can change with time…”

“Sure. Surely it can.”

Derek glanced up in surprise of my agreement.

I cleared my throat. “There was a time when I had spent some long minutes studying this showcase,” I finally admitted. “But once my eyes met the nut cake, I realized I truly didn’t care about the others anymore. It would have been far worse to never get my nut cake with cherries than to get to taste all the others.”

“Really?” he gulped hard.

I nodded and patted him on the back thinking of his fiancé, Maria. He gave me a smile and finished his coffee.

“I…I think I have to go.”

“Of course,” I winked at him and was looking forward to the wedding.

In the door he turned around and said: “Dad, thank you for the…cake,” he smiled.

“But you didn’t have any,” I shrugged it off.

“I’m sure there’s some left at home.” And off he was.

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