Potential

He had left me drowning like a bowling ball. And my small café was all that was keeping me afloat. On that lazy afternoon as I came back to work I saw him. This spectacled Giraffe-like man, concentrating very hard at a table, burdened with a dozen or so of our desserts.

I stared as Venky carried yet another cake up to him. The Giraffe shook his head and muttered pleadingly, “Not the red velvet! Give me anything… anything, but the red velvet.” Venky scampered back to the counter. I followed to find him bouncing. “He wants a helping of all of our desserts,” he whispered, his eyebrows disappearing into his scanty hairline. Venky helped me load my arms with the few missing treats and shooed me off.

I approached the Giraffe as he took a bite of our famous lemon tart. He proceeded to make notes on a writing pad saying-Tangy, but a bit dry.

I fumed. “I’ll have you know that you couldn’t find better tarts in all of town” and banged a plate of red velvet down on the table. He started, noticing my presence for the first time and sheepishly swallowed his bite. “Umm…. They are the best tarts in town. Very, very unique!” he emphasized. “They’re just not me.”

“Just not you?” I exclaimed.

Shaking his head he laughed, “Welcome to my dessert audition!” Noticing the new additions he gestured, “We can make room for those here. Have a seat.”

“So! A dessert audition?” I quizzed.

“Long story short, I broke up and apart from losing my cat and a few friends to her, also lost my favorite dessert- the Red Velvet Cupcake” he explained. “You see, when we started dating her favorite was apple pie. Slowly she fell in love with red velvet cupcakes. At first, it was sweet. She would always order it for me, for birthdays, when she cooked for me, you know… special occasions. Somewhere down the line, it became her favorite. Even our friends thought the cupcakes were all about her. So while I can fight a custody battle for my cat, what can I do about the cupcakes?”

I started to see the point to the whole affair, “And now you need a new favorite which would be all yours.”

He looked surprised, “You understand?”

“I recently lost blueberry cheesecake.”

He grimaced and looked away. I broke the silence, “Which ones have you crossed off?”

“Umm… I don’t like pies very much. Too dry and too her. Tarts I crossed for the same reason.”

“Mousse?”

“Too fluffy.”

“Macaroons?”

And so it began. Warm and sunny, the empty little café burst into a gastronomic adventure as Giraffe and I pored over things like appropriate sweetness, texture, aroma, mood lift. One by one, with little mercy, we tore the dessert pageantry apart and at last were left with just the red velvet and the blueberry cheesecake.

Our eyes met and at once the two plates slid at opposite ends of the table. Wordlessly we each took a bite. He the blueberry cheesecake and I the red velvet cupcake. As the bite melted in my mouth I felt a weight lifting off me after a long time. Giraffe simply grinned satisfied, “Now that has potential.”

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