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Every Christmas Uncle Spike rotated around Aunt Vesper’s cake batter as if a planet to a sun. He would stand behind her left shoulder rocking from his heels to his toes in his brown orthopedically correct shoes as he watched her separate the egg yolks from the whites. Whites that she would let caress and slide through her deft and slim fingers. Whites that she would later whip into chocolate mousse made with only the finest Verona 87% cocoa chocolate. The smell of this cake batter was the perfume of their love from inception to fruition. Uncle Spike had grown up just two doors down from Aunt Vesper and had come to age on the wafting scent of the perfectly prepared cakes her mother made and then the not so perfect scent as Vesper learned the same secrets much more slowly than even she could have believed.

Uncle Spike loved this ritual that reminded him of a time when he and Vesper would dress up and go out on the town dancing, when the tango, now considered passé was as exotic as it got. Before the walls of such places were painted black and lights strobed to teenage girls screeching about heartache, drug addiction and cats. Before everyone started wearing scraps of clothes that expose often foolish ink and bellybutton rings that flash , a forced sexuality, no less fake than the later orgasms in the fumbling dark.

Uncle Spike heaves a sigh as he gathers his scarf and fedora to go to his niece’s house for this Christmas’s dinner. He looks around the darkened, still house and though right on the edge of his peripheral vision he can see Vesper cracking eggs and their little ones sticking their fingers in the sticky viscous liquid what dominates this heart are not those happy thoughts but the bleaker ones of the startlingly loud gun shots from a home invader taken by surprise and the life racing from Vesper’s eyes. He knows that he should be grateful that though a bullet tore through his own chest cavity, he lived and his children were not rendered orphans and he knows that he should be grateful that he can see Vesper in his daughters face and in her daughter’s hands. But all he can think in this moment as the fragrance of cake batter fills the gaps in his memory is that not all that is lost can be found.

***

Inspired by Write At The Merge’s prompt of Spike the Alligator and a pink Vespa.

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