My Writing

Day 3: Open Mouth, Insert Cake

Write about the worst time you’ve ever put your foot in your mouth

I could tell Claire was starting to get frazzled. Her cheeks were glowing red; I knew my sister and that only happened when she was stressed. A couple of kids ran past her out the back door and I could see her fists clench. I hurried over and took the knife from her hand.

‘It’s okay, only a couple more hours and then they’ll all go home.’

She sighed and smiled. ‘Let’s just get the cake done.’ She lifted the chocolate and sponge castle with the candles in the turrets from the counter and headed to the garden, starting the birthday song on her way. The kids and parents outside joined in and Lucy sat beaming in the middle of the grass; her pink princess tutu was stained a mixture of green and brown from playing a fairly literal game of ‘Stuck in the Mud’ with Abdul and Jacob earlier. She closed her eyes tightly as she blew the candles out and screeched when she managed to get them all, after a couple of tries. All of the kids gathered around the patio table as Claire divided up the cake. Even the parents stood a little closer when the plates were being passed around. The cake looked amazing. Perfectly spongy with just the right amount of chocolate buttercream oozing from the middle and orange icing on top. If there was one thing Claire knew, it was how to make a fantastic cake.

Lucy grabbed the first slice and hurried away with the boys while the rest of us sat around the table ready to indulge in the gooey chocolate heaven.

There was a thump and a wail. We looked around to see Lucy and Abdul face down on the grass with their cake cascaded out in front of them. Abdul managed to stand up while Lucy stayed on the ground wailing.

Claire took a deep breath and went to stand up but I stopped her.

‘I’ll deal with it, you relax.’

She smiled gratefully as I ran to the kids and picked Lucy up. She had managed to get away without much damage, except for maybe a bruised ego. I couldn’t say the same for Abdul, unfortunately. He had fallen right smack bang on top of his piece of cake, which was now smeared all over his shirt and face. I shuffled the two of them inside and sat them down at the kitchen table. Lucy was still crying so I grabbed a packet of crisps from the counter and handed them to her. She sniffled as she took them, clearly trying to figure out if giving up the leverage she had to get some pity was worth a mere packet of crisps.

‘There’s more cake left as well,’ I told her.

This seemed to satisfy her and she tottered back outside on her plastic heels in search of more goodies.

I turned to Abdul and sighed. His face had gotten most of the cake. He grinned at me, his bright white teeth shining through the mess of buttercream. I laughed.

‘At least you’re having fun.’

I grabbed a cloth from the cupboard and ran it under the tap. He giggled and squirmed as I wiped the cake from his face, finally getting him clean after a few rinses of the cloth.

‘There you go, good as new.’ I stood him up and straightened out his collar. ‘Now don’t get into any more trouble, you little chocolate-face.’

I heard the words after they had left my mouth. I stared open-mouthed as Abdul skipped out of the kitchen. Had I really just called him ‘chocolate-face?’ The Indian boy who lives next door to my sister, I called him ‘chocolate face?’ I looked down at the brown stained cloth in my hand. Yes, yes I had. Well at least he was the only one here to hear me. I would be mortified if anyone else had heard it.

I threw the cloth in the laundry basket and headed back outside to the table of parents. They were all deathly quiet when I sat down. It was only then that I remember the kitchen window opened right to where the table was. They had obviously all heard me. I felt my face go bright red. I couldn’t look any of them in the eye so I just looked at my hands. I heard a stifled snigger and looked up. Abdul’s mother was looking at me, her face creased into a bigger grin that her son’s buttercream smile. The rest of the table started laughing along with her.

I wanted to disappear under the table and never come out. I had never been so embarrassed in my life. I looked at Claire and she was giggling harder than the rest of them. Well at least she wasn’t stressed anymore.

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