I made cookies from scratch. Three different kinds: peanut butter cup, chocolate lovers and raspberry truffle. Too much dough makes its way into my mouth -- enough to form a whole cookie. Dinner is a cup of tea in compensation. Usually I have more will power, but I am preoccupied. Not sure with what, hormones maybe.
Penguin sneaks through the front door just as I am putting the last sheet in the oven. He comes up behind me, wraps his arms around my waist and buries his face in the nape of my neck. I trade a kiss for a cookie. Watching the smile spread over his face as he takes the first bite is far more enjoyable than actually eating one myself. I clean the kitchen as he snags another cookie, then another. One of each kind. If I ate like him I’d weigh 300 pounds.
Seventeen minutes later I pull the gooey, delicious, horrible-for-you creations out of the oven and set them on the stove. Want to know the secret to perfect cookies? Add ½ - 1 cup extra flour to the dough, undercook them by about two minutes and then let them cool on the pan, not a rack. Doing so keeps the center moist and chewy while the bottom continues to brown so they don’t fall apart. The most important step is to not eat any.
The remaining 100+ cookies already sit divided into Tupperware: one for my parents, one for my brother and his girlfriend, a plate for work and a giant container for Penguin. Enough to last 90 days. Oh yes. Maybe that has something to do with my preoccupation. He is leaving. In three days. For three months. For 90 days. For 2,160 hours. For 129,600 minutes.
NO. I will not do this. I am NOT that girl.
I notice the grease stains spreading out beneath each cookie. Soaking into the butcher paper placed carefully between each layer, striations of fat and carbs and heart-hammering because there is so much sugar. I put the lid on each container, sealing in the curls of yum, yum, yum that waft off them.
Penguin never asks why I don’t eat my own baked goods. I assume it’s because I am fat, fat, fat. He’d never say it, but I know I am not his type: not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not… enough. He talks constantly about body image, how so-and-so is looking rather hefty these days. How his ex-wife’s sister is developing manly forearms from all the weight lifting. How his friend’s thighs now rub together. Fat. Wrong. Bad.
I listen to all the reasons I am not good enough. I wonder why I do this to myself.
It doesn’t matter. I will think only happy thoughts. Today was a good day. Any day I get to bake and then go for a six mile hike is a good day.