As I sit Indian style on my bedroom floor, I fidget with the seams of the clear plastic dome that encapsulates the store-bought red velvet cake in my lap. It's a delicate process that requires a steady hand and patience, neither of which I can marshal at the moment. The cake bounces and smears inside its clear shell as my fingers anxiously seek purchase.
I finally detach the lid, discarding it somewhere behind my bed, and dig my fork into the cake as one would a shovel to soft earth in a backyard where someone is building a pool, with that, "I don't fucking know, this looks like a good place to start I guess" sort of energy. I take the first bite. A wave of anger washes over me and recedes, leaving only despondency. I post the fork in the center of the sheet cake and sigh heavily. "Fuck," I mumble to myself.
* * *
A few hours earlier I had walked into my gym like any other morning. I checked in at the front desk with one of the many well-tanned, well-toned, over-sexed, under-interesting, staff members and headed for the locker room. As I made my way down the hall, I noticed a couple sitting on one of the many leather couches outside the spin classroom (I'll ignore the intrinsic issues with leather couches and swamp ass). The couple was bedecked in Spandex biking outfits and helmets. The man, mid 20's, was clasping the woman's hand and appeared to be apologizing. The woman, also mid 20's, was sobbing. She was pulling her hands away from his.
I thought about what kind of person it took to strip someone so emotionally raw while wearing Spandex. I slowed down as I passed them, all my senses elevated, trying to take in as much information as possible. There are only two possible scenarios that would explain such an unprecedented and practically impossible happening:
Impossible & Horrifying Scenario #1:
This guy is a doctor and just told his patient, who also happens to be his fucking biking partner, that she has some sort of degenerative illness, and he has chosen this, an open air gym with exposed brick, as a fitting venue to tell her she is dying. In that case, I would have to venture to guess that he's not only a shit doctor but probably a shit human being as well. I imagine him starting the conversation, "Lillian, I have some good and bad news for you. Good news: You know how you're always worried about staying in shape in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle? Well no worries, you never have to ride a bike again! I suggest you indulge on McDonald's and cocaine as much as your little, delicate, fading, heart desires for the next 12-18 months. Oh and the bad news? Yeah…the 12-18 months thing."
Impossible & Horrifying Scenario #2:
This gentleman has chosen a swamp assed leather couch, in a crowded gym, before spin class, as an opportune time and place to end a relationship.
I find Scenario #2 the most titillating and plausible.
As I passed, hearing her desperate and failing attempts to muffle the sobbing, I thought about what it must be like to be mortified like that by someone you trusted. I thought about what kind of person it took to strip someone so emotionally raw while wearing Spandex. I thought about the quirky sort of irony that she got dumped wearing a helmet. Then, I thought about her muffling her sobbing. It is an injustice of the highest order that this broken quivering girl had to struggle to hide herself in this awful moment. Because of what he did, she now had to bury all her rage, fear, and horror, deep inside the recesses of herself and shield her blushed, tearing face from the hallway traffic. Yes, the hallway traffic in a fucking gym. This—them—sitting there like that, shouldn't be allowed in this world. What was happening on that couch was against God and The Universe and Nature. It was a bird flying upside down and backwards. It was a fluke of physics, a dickhead black hole where the weight of shittiness bent time and space into a singularity, consuming everything around it, stretching into infinity.
People want us when they are drunk at a birthday party or when someone dies; no one wants us on fucking Tuesday.Then, I thought about some of the horrifying and terrible things I've done to people I love. All the unfair, mortifying, epic shit I've put people through. Oh my god, I am a dickhead singularity.
I turned 180 degrees and walked right back out the front door of the gym, waving at the well-tanned, over-sexed, under-interesting staff members at the front desk on the way out. I headed straight to the local grocery store, on the way back to the apartment, and bought the biggest red velvet cake I could find. Then I sat on my floor Indian style. This was the cure; this would make my epiphany of self-realization dissipate, if only temporarily.
"Fuck," I mumble to myself as I take the first bite. This cake is awful. A $14 sheet cake that's been sitting in a cooler for 6 weeks, who'd of thunk it. After all that, all the buying the cake and eating it too, it didn't even dawn on me that the cake might taste like shit.
Then, clarity. I am red velvet cake. People are attracted to us initially with the impression, "Oh that looks good, I'll have some of that!" only to find out after a few bites that you really can't have any more—too heavy. People are drawn to us only in moments of sheer jubilation or extreme sadness. People want us when they are drunk at a birthday party or when someone dies; no one wants us on fucking Tuesday. People who try to have us every day find themselves loathing us to the point where even the thought of us makes them nauseous. And, we are both made out of some unnatural, laboratory-built, corn-based, sugar product that promotes obesity and early onset diabetes.
Dr. Dickhead Singularity was red velvet cake too. What the sobbing woman will realize in a few days, after she wicks away the tears with her Spandex sleeve, is how awful it is to try to manage all that heavy shit into your diet every day. In a month she will be embarrassed to even admit how much she enjoyed that shit. As for red velvet, he'll have someone else infatuated with him for two weeks before slipping into a diabetic coma.
Or maybe the woman just stubbed her toe and he was consoling her. I'm not projecting, am I?