Christine Lehane | Cake

Mommy says there’ll be cake.

This tie is tight around my neck. Is this what it feels like to be a dog? I’ve always wondered what it feels like to be a dog.

I have a dog. How come he couldn’t come with us? How come he didn’t have to wear a suit? Mine is hot and uncomfortable. I wanted to wear my superhero cape, but Mommy said no.

Mommy says no a lot.

Mommy looks sad today.

“Why are you crying, Mommy?”

Wiping her nose with a tissue, she smiles at me. Maybe she’s sick? I had a runny nose once, and it made me want to cry, too.

It’s hot in here. And it smells weird. Flowers smell weird. I’ve never seen so many flowers in my entire life, or so many people wearing black. Why are they wearing black? I wanted to wear my superhero cape.

Why is everyone crying?

Should I cry too? I don’t want to cry. I want cake.

“Mommy.” I tug on her black dress.

“Hush, Adam.”

“Why is everybody crying?”

“Adam.”

I know that tone. It’s the same she uses when she finds out I haven’t put my toys away and when I haven’t finished all my broccoli at dinner.

But I don’t like broccoli.

Where’s the cake?

Someone pokes my shoulder and when I see my favorite cousin, Tom, I wave to him. “Hi, Tom.”

“Hi, Adam.” He waves back.

Tom doesn’t look sad like all the grown ups do. He’s not wearing a suit. Why doesn’t he have to wear a suit and I do? That’s not fair.

“Mommy, how come Tom doesn’t have to wear a suit?”

“Adam, please. No talking right now, okay?”

I pout and fold my arms over my chest. I can see a picture of grandpa behind the backs of all the grown ups in front of me. He’s smiling. Is this his party? Is that why there’s going to be cake? Maybe it’s his birthday.

“Mommy, where’s grandpa? He’s going to miss the cake.”

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