I walked past my reflection in the big display window of Miller's Bakery and I didn't recognize myself.
The red and white check 'tablecloth' print sundress (as my Husband Joey calls it) looked familiar to me after a second or two, but it must have taken another 5 full seconds for me to realize the body INSIDE of that walking tablecloth was actually MINE.
Wow. Look at THAT!! I didn't WADDLE when I walked. When did THAT change? I really DID have ANKLES underneath all of that fat, huh!? And look! BONES were peeking out above the neckline of my dress. I think they're called collarbones, but I'm not sure. It's been so long since I've actually SEEN mine; I thought I was born without them or something. My shoulders didn't look like I was suited up to play in the Superbowl anymore; when did that 'padded' look disappear? My hips still left a lot to be desired; it almost looked like I had an hourglass figure, but all of the sand was sitting in the bottom. Well, you can't have everything.
Overall, I was really pleasantly surprised to find I wasn't repulsed by what I saw in that bakery window... and the double-chocolate fudge cake didn't look too bad to me, either.
I opened the door and walked inside, and immediately I was hit with that familiar, indescribable bakery scent of all things delightful, delicious, decadent and dangerous at once. I took a number from the ticket machine so I could have my turn to be waited on. Lucky #13. Not a good sign.
Suddenly, I realized that THE ENEMY surrounded me on all sides! My heartbeat started to quicken. Cream cheese cakes, chocolate chunk macadamia nut cookies, peach cobbler and sweet cream filled scones; tortes, pies and pastries of every variety were winking at me from behind the glass cases where they were held captive. A German Chocolate Cheesecake blew me a kiss as I walked past. I swear I even heard the evil laugh of a Devils Food Cake.
Directly ahead were cases of assorted breakfast goodies, cookies, rolls, scones, muffins, crumb cakes and bagels of every flavor ever invented... they all gave me that 'come hither' look.
And of course, there was a five-mile long glass case crammed to capacity with thousands of varieties of iced, frosted, filled and sugar-coated doughnuts. Name your flavor!! I'm sure they've got it!! The chocolate donuts were calling to me like hookers on the corner on a Saturday Night, promising me a good time.
The rack of still warm bread was within inches of my arm. I swear I could feel their heat on my skin. Their seductive golden colors were varied. There were fresh ryes, (seeded and non), dark pumpernickel, hard crusty Italian, soft French, rich Portuguese, sweet Polish and even an assortment of various sourdough breads. There were breads with cheeses, breads with peppers, breads with raisins, nuts, dates, and even chocolate chips!! The loaves all stood in baskets and were stacked on shelves; their scents hovered dangerously, enticing me to come closer. I envisioned a slice of nice hot bread with a large pat of creamy butter melting into its surface.
The ubiquitous scent of all things delicious mingled with the warm spicy smell of freshly brewed coffee in the air. My stomach grumbled aloud, and I knew I was in BIG TROUBLE! WHY did I agree to pick this birthday cake up for my friend? *sigh* It was HER daughter's cake!! SHE should be here facing these temptations, not me! But she knew all she had to do was to compliment me on my weight loss and tell me how she was also trying to lose weight, and she didn't have the 'willpower' I did to go into a bakery while she was dieting. And it worked like a charm. (After so many years of Friendship, she can read me like a book! Flatter me, and I'll hold up a bank for you.)
So I boldly accepted the challenge to brave the dangerous waters I was now treading here in Miller's Bakery. However, I felt like I was going under for the third time and the Lifeguard had gone home for the day. My stomach grumbled again; it thinks my throat has been cut. I AM NOW HUNGRY. Starving, even! I feel the familiar 'out of control' danger signs of a full blown 'binge' coming on. I didn't want to cheat on my diet! I had to prove to myself I could do this. Am I nuts? Coming into a BAKERY? That's like putting an Alcoholic into a Wine Cellar with a corkscrew and locking the door. It's not a good situation to be in.
I glanced behind me at those big display windows, where just minutes earlier, I was admiring my own visage. I was nervous. My stomach was growling and my palms felt damp. My olfactory system was close to overload! COULD I resist the TRY ONE samples on top of each glass case? All I had to do was take a toothpick and go to town! Nobody but ME would ever know!!
I looked over to a very large man on my right. He was standing in front of the TRY ONE sample plate of Angel Food Cake cubes, drizzled with an orange flavored icing. He had his toothpick loaded to capacity and was ready to launch them into his mouth. I didn't realize I was staring at him until I was snapped out of my trance when the woman behind the counter shouted for the second time: "Number 13?!!"
It was my turn! I didn't make it over to the TRY ONE samples yet! There was still HOPE!! Maybe I could make it out of here without cheating! YAY!!
I walked over to the blue haired bakery clerk behind the glass cookie case that had called the number. I wished her a 'good morning' and handed her my ticket and the receipt for my friend's daughter's birthday cake. She asked me to wait for her across the room by the Specialty Cake Order Desk.
I passed a tall rack of fresh, warm pies on my way to the other side of the bakery. The boxes contained pies of every description! Each and every box was begging me to take them home like cute little puppies at the pound. They were nearly irresistible.
KEEP WALKING!! You're not out of danger yet.
I arrive at the Specialty Cake Order Desk, where I'm faced with a double-decker TRY ONE sample platter! Uht oh! Double Trouble!! On top, there was a little cup of toothpicks, surrounded by cubes of chocolate cake, yellow cake, white, strawberry, and lemon cakes. On the level beneath, there were little bowls filled with icings that were labeled: butter cream, whipped cream, chocolate mocha, chocolate fudge, milk chocolate and vanilla cream.
Now THIS is could be bad. REALLY bad. I was very nervous that I was going to blow my diet! I could feel the familiar 'binge' symptoms coming on! I could SMELL the chocolate in the air around me, taunting me. I would BATHE in chocolate! Chocolate is my heroin. The smell of it is hypnotic, and it was making me crazy.
I looked at the TRY ONE sign. I looked at the pretty pedestal platter that held the little cup of toothpicks surrounded by the cake cubes. I looked at the little sample bowls of icings. I looked to the left and saw a red and white check tablecloth print reflected on the front of an adjoining glass case, which was holding several decorated sheet cakes captive.
The tablecloth print was stretched wide across the face of the glass. I actually looked twice. Was that ME??!! Well I KNOW that was MY red and white check tablecloth print sundress reflected on the glass case, but LOOK! The way the glass distorted my reflection, it made me look FAT!! HUGE! It made me look like I looked before I started dieting last year! Holy cow! Was I REALLY that big???
Yep. It was me; all those lost pounds ago. Frightfully familiar. Padded shoulders. No neck, double chin. No ankles; just an extension of my calves that ended inside of my shoes. No visible bones. No flattering lines. Wide body. No hint of an hourglass anywhere. Even one with all of the sand sitting in the bottom.
I stood there staring at my distorted reflection like the Village Idiot until the little blue haired bakery clerk appeared behind the Specialty Cake Counter with a box. She opened the top and showed me the cake inside. I approved the design and the spelling of my friend's daughter's name. The cake was pre-paid; all I had to do was to sign the receipt and I was free to go. I thanked the clerk as she went off to help the next customer in line.
I stood there alone at the Specialty Cake Order Desk. I once again looked over at the twin pedestal platters that were holding the cake and icing bowls with the TRY ONE sign. I could smell the moist, sweet cake cubes. The icing assortment beneath looked so creamy and enticing. A smorgasbord of goodies! The chocolate scent, strong in the air, was almost erotic!
I reached out, and I took a toothpick out of the little cup in the center of the top platter.
I held the toothpick in my fingers. I looked at the platters of delectable samples. I looked down at the toothpick between my fingers.
I placed the toothpick in-between my teeth.
I picked up the box with the birthday cake inside and I walked out of Miller's Bakery feeling triumphant.
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