She always made me carrot cake, from scratch, on my birthday.

It was the one dessert I’d let myself eat because it tasted like love.

Mum would stand in the kitchen, August wind blowing through gingham curtains, her apron on, mixing, and she always looked a little sad, except when she was in her garden.

I wanted to be one of her flowers.

Don’t make me cake, I thought. Just hold me a little, but her flowers were so beautiful and I was an awkward kid with bowl-cut hair and large-rimmed glasses. With me as the freak and Mum being so insecure, she and I were like two sad little puppets on fear’s string, dancing awkwardly side by side until the day her string got cut.

(Won’t you join me over at She Loves, today, friends, for the rest of this piece? Thank you… And I’m so grateful to spend today, my 32nd birthday, with you, dear friends. You’ve made this past year so bright. Love, e.)