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Half-Baked Memories

Happy Valentine’s Day people…there is enough love in your heart for everyday so don’t save some for tomorrow or for the next Feb 14, LOVE all you can NOW!

I made up the name ‘Dunmomi’ by the way but i can almost bet my whole salary that my Yoruba people have given countless of my brothers and sisters this name. It means, ‘to sweeten’, ‘to make happy’…read on and you will see why I chose this name. 😉

 

Dear Ademide,

I found a memory of you yesterday. Or should I say it found me. It caught me unprepared and knocked the wind out of my sails, left me stumped for words and with feelings I thought I was done having.

Of all places, your memory was hidden in my pantry, on the upper shelves that I always have to stand on a stool to reach. I had suddenly gotten the urge to make something special for February 14; some flour, baking soda, yeast, cinnamon, just like you taught me.

The last time I baked was with you, with ingredients I thought I had lost forever; five spoonfuls of laughter, a pinch of the joy, and endless shovels of love…

I haven’t baked since that Saturday in May. I haven’t felt enough to try and replicate all that joy with mere flour, sugar, eggs, cinnamon and maybe butter. But yesterday, for some weird reason I thought that maybe I could try life again.

So I reached out and found what you forgot to take with you when you left me behind on the intersection of  13th and 35th and moved to a place I can only ever dream about. Because isn’t that life Ademide, a journey where something or someone always gets left behind for dreams?

It has been a year and a half since you left and took everything with you. Or so I thought until I reached up the top shelf of my pantry and found the can of yeast you brought with you on that fourth date when we baked together for the first and last time.

“How can you not know how to bake?” You asked me over the phone as we discussed options for our date.

“Err, because no one ever taught me?”

“Well then, we will have to correct that won’t we?”

“Why can’t we just do the Broadway like we discussed last time? What if I don’t want to learn how to bake?”

“You do, you just don’t know it yet. I have some yeast in my house but you go to the grocery and get…” and you had reeled out a dozen ingredients for my first baking lesson.

“Baking is a lot like loving; at the beginning, there is all these work with the ingredients, all these measuring of each other, ensuring there is enough of everything and then the mix gets put into a cake pan- that’s the part where lovers get comfortable enough to envision a future together. Then comes the oven, the trials, the hard times, the doubts but once love is able to make it through the fire, what you have is a beautiful work of creation only you both could have made…” You told me as we mixed cake batter.

I held that can to my chest yesterday and memories I thought I had relinquished to forgetfulness found me; flour on your hands, your iPod belting out love songs, the way you held me in your arms as we danced while waiting for the oven to do its magic, your eyes and the way they sparkled against the backdrop of snow as I kissed you for the first time that night when we stood by your car…

Was I not enough icing for our cake? Or did I bring too much yeast to the table, causing us to rise too fast and to fall even faster? Did I laugh too hard at your jokes or was it that you found my awkwardness unfitting for your gracefulness on the dance floor?

I checked the expiry date on the can of yeast and even though it isn’t expiring for another year, I threw it out but aided and abetted by your memory, I found my way to Target and stocked up on more baking stuff.

I am using almost the exact same recipe you shared with me. I am surprised that I remember it so well.

There is one little change though…instead of the plain cinnamon and raisin cake we made, I am adding a few new ingredients.

His name is Dunmomi. I met him four months ago, just before Christmas and even though we have found ourselves underneath the mistletoe many times since then, I see now that i have let the memory of you keep me from letting the love he has to give heal me.

I will be sprinkling in some confidence as well into this cake mix, a couple drops of audacity, and instead of raisins, I will be trying out almonds and walnuts. I read somewhere that nuts withstand heat better than fruits and I am thinking that maybe I wouldn’t mind so much if I and Dunmomi make it past the oven stage like you and I never did.

I never thought I would think of you with fondness ever again but I see now that just like the cliches promised, I can indeed find joy, hope and healing in what was left behind. With just the pieces of my heart and some yeast in form of a man that is willing, I can have the beginnings of hope for cake.

So tomorrow, I will be trying my hands on baking again. I have the flour, almonds, walnuts, a new can of yeast, a measured teaspoon of kisses, and a heart that is ready to love again. Dunmomi is bringing some wine, an iPod with new love songs, some laughter, and the promise of new beginnings with no ending.

In the past, finding your memories have always left me with a bitter taste on my tongue but this time, there is a delicious anticipation for cake. I am ready as I ever will be.

Best,
Ojuolape

Song of the Day: Colbie Calliat – Hold On

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