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January 1, 2021

Failed Dessert

Leila Register

Six tabs open on the screen. Email, bank, three boring ones not worth mentioning, and one for the clinic. Six is too many tabs for all the words to show, so the tab for the bank just says “Compare Cards At.” The one for the clinic says “A Preferred Women’s.” I want to bake a cake today, but John says only one failed dessert in the house at a time. He’s talking about the Pyrex that’s been in the refrigerator for weeks from the time I tried to make 5 Step Peanut Butter Fudge. Fine. I’ll make drinks instead. Pina Coladas. Problem is I have none of the ingredients. Guess I could use water for milk. Spiced rum for coconut-flavored. Lucky for me I have pineapple juice, except it’s the cheap kind in a can from CVS. I call my dad. Retired bartender. He tells me a doomed combination of wrong things can really ruin a drink. That I need something called Coco Lopez. Doesn’t sound real to me. “Your head’s in the clouds,” I say. He tells me his car is making that noise again, and do I know anything about that. I hang up. I can always tell when I’m about to be accused of something. I decide to go on a walk. John makes me take an umbrella. I don’t tell him I think they’re useless. Last time I took one it kept inverting itself from the wind. All the metal rods stabbed through the fabric and stuck upright in the air. Looked like I was holding hands with someone hysterical or being electrocuted. I take the umbrella anyway. Say I’m going to the library but instead I walk circles around the block. Doesn’t rain a drop. Fantasize about packing my clothes, shoes, the soap dish, certain bowls with sentimental value, the French DVDs I never watched, all the good forks, my Note to Self post-its, rubber bands for my hair, and my favorite lamp into one suitcase or several, leaving for good. That’s as far as I get in the fantasy. Can’t imagine anything else. Can’t even make it to the car. Nobody ever talks about the storm after the storm. I pick up a magazine. Don’t want to come home empty handed. Read the cover as I unlock the front door. The sidebar teases a story on page 42: “We’re Not Used to Seeing Women Act This Way.” Who’s we?!