I was watching Forest Gump last night with the Boy. We were sitting on the sofa, talking about birthdays past. Life is not like a box of chocolates. I don’t even like chocolates. Chocolates is lazy and incomplete a comparison. Chocolate box schmaltzy, but then again, when was Tom Hanks anything other than cutely sweetly borderline sickeningly adorable? Give me Samuel L Jackson any day. Whether he is speaking Tarantino’s words, or reading a bedtime story for little children, telling them charmingly to ‘go the fuck to sleep’, he is the coolest man this side of Antarctica. He is, what my son would describe as a ‘total G’, which doesn’t appear to in fact be much to do with being a gangsta, but everything to do with being a stand up guy, a decent person with loyalty and morals. A friend. A mensch. Someone who has that quality within them that feeds the light of others, without being overly sweet and blindingly sickeningly “lawful good” about the whole deal. Someone who would do or die for those they love, instead of doing and dying for the letter of a law that is mostly bullshit anyway.
No, Forest. Life is not like a box of chocolates. Life is a cake. Those first slices out of it pass by unnoticed, despite being the purest, the freshest, the most perfect spongey soft just out of the oven goodness. You chew down fifteen years without even noticing it is gone, the frosting dripping down your chin, coating your lips with sugar. The sweetness of life. You let crumbs and sundays fall to the floor willing time to pass by faster. You resent the fact that the cake takes so long to eat. Gulping down slices that you cut so thickly, not even taking time to savor nor remember the bites gone by and lost forever to memory that chooses not to record them.
Then that cake starts to matter a little more, The next eighth might get a little more attention. You notice the delicate scent of lemon in the frosting, the candied citrus peel in the batter, that has been so carefully folded in and not sunken to the bottom. Perhaps then you take a little frosting and taste it on your fingertip. Life is good. You might recognize the quality of the bake, but yet do not appreciate it. Time is squandered like it is in endless supply. Cake is eaten in huge thick slabs as though it is not the only cake you will ever get to eat.
Finally, a quarter gone, the cake sits there starkly. A significant hole in the situation. A chunk taken out that means something. The next 25 pass slower. Babies and summers. Children and desperation. Trying to keep that cake on the plate and not have it smash on the floor. There is no time for savoring. No time to make sure every crumb is eaten. Sometimes there is a flaw in the bake. A fly in the vanilla, a bitter taste in the mouth. Slices start to get smaller. Almost half eaten, there is a problem, Mr. Jackson. I am neither the baddest bitch out there, and yes, I have simply ‘wandered the earth’ like a bum. That phase has come and gone. The frosting is imperfect, the perfectly piped rosettes are flattened, the edges are uneven and the sponge is starting to stale, yet the damn cake has never tasted so good. I place it carefully upon a table, and prepare to take another slice.
It is not a cake but a bomb to be defused. Which side to cut it from? How big a chunk to take? A slither? A hefty portion? Is there a bite that will be poisoned? A better serving to take? Should I eat it with my hands? Should I put it on a plate?
The plate is starting to look sparse. It is beginning to look empty. The cake is making me nervous. I take a serving, but I feel it is too hefty.
Time comes and blows out another candle on my cake, and gives me a wink. I would say he looks a little like Mr. Jackson’s older brother, but then again, perhaps not. Biting the bullet. Accepting my fate. Looking down at the slice of cake getting stale upon my plate. I take a bite. Lemon scented sadness. Sharply biting. Nostalgic. There will not be many other bites to take, I fear. We are getting to the half way point, and I am not sure this cake is gonna make it. The rest of the cake is looking fragile, as if it might simply crumble and turn to dust. No more me. No more us.
My compliments to the baker. The cake was great. I am not the most appreciative eater, that is all.
Pulp Fiction is 27 years old, plus a few days change. I was a young woman when I went to the cinema to watch it. The movie is legendary. I am a disaster. Jule’s moment of clarity eating his muffin and drinking his coffee and seeing the hand of God in the way bullets moved – or didn’t – still stands immoveable. Only Mr J could sell it that way.
Happy motherfucking birthday to me.
(In the interests of anonymity today may or may not be my actual birthday…Yeah..the assholes even took that away from me).