I want chocolate but I don't want it. I want to eat a big huge piece of chocolate cake. I want to eat a big piece of chocolate cake, moist, sweet, rich, with some density and meaty crumb, but not too dense. I want to have a piece of chocolate cake with thick icing, not too fluffy and not too thick. It has to be creamy and thick, heavy with butter. I want to have dark chocolate cake with thick frosting and some chocolate chips in one of the layers of cream in between layers. I want to have chocolate cake on my tongue with thick creamy dark chocolate icing that makes my mouth water. I want to have chocolate cake and I want to be able to smell the fresh chocolate cake and feel its cool crumb and resilient texture. I want to eat chocolate cake, five layers high. Or six hundred. I want a big piece of chocolate cake on a big strong plate and I want to eat it with a heavy silver fork that sits in my hand like a pointed scepter. I want a big piece of chocolate cake that lies on my plate like a prize given by a king in exchange for a kingdom. I want to eat it like its the cake of destiny, and I want my mouth to water when I smell its dark rich fragrance. I want my mouth to water when I inhale the dark mystery of cocoa. Cocoa made from beans grown in a foreign land where people who speak a language I don't understand have reached into the treetops and gathered the beans in their hands and dropped them into woven sacks and carried the sacks to drying sheds where the beans dry in the tropical sun and birds scream in the treetops and fly with big bright freathered wings. I want to eat chocolate cake made of butter from a cow that walked all over rolling green hills for all time and ate sweet fresh grass. I want a cake made of butter from a cow that ate well and walked steadily to her barn at the end of the day and was milked by a farmer who has been milking cows for a hundred years and sat on a yellow stool. I want to eat cake that is made from flour that was milled from grain that was grown in the hot sun and ripened while the blue sky soared overhead in a blazing arc. I want to eat chocolate cake that was made in my house while a hundred people danced and sang and lights hung from electric cords strung from tree to tree. I want to eat chocolate cake with all those hundreds of people and sing with them out loud so the cocoa bean pickers in the foreign land and the cows resting in the shade of the giant trees on the hillsides and the wheat kernels hardening in the hot summer sun can all hear us. I want to eat chocolate cake and pick it up with my hands and smell its rich fragrance and press it up against my face and kiss it. I want to eat chocolate cake whose salt comes from the tears of women lost in the valley until they found the sacred stream. I want to eat chocolate cake and find the women and bring them to my house and give them a white shining plate with a silver fork as big as a shovel. They and I will eat chocolate cake together with all the living things that are bound up in it, each morsel alive and fragrant. I want to eat chocolate cake, dark as the skin of the people who live in places I have never been. I want to eat chocolate cake like a dying woman remembers the stars at the last hour before her eyes close for the last time and she lies like a wisp of memory on a white sheet in a white room with no one there and she is forgotten except for me as I see her die, and now I see whiteness in her long hair, her skin, her bed, and her life is gone silently. She is gone, gone, quietly, very quietly and silence surrounds her. She breathes no more and I am still breathing. I look at her and pray her soul to heaven and I believe she goes there and learns to breathe again. I breathe again and I move. I still move and breathe. I am alive. I want to eat chocolate cake and breathe and move and inhale the fragrance of chocolate, dark and rich with life and know the unknowable because I think the unthinkable. I want to gather the little woman now in heaven and bring her to my table and wrap her in bright cloth and show her the dancing people who are twirling their skirts in the starlight and fire and give her a resounding good-bye with a cake fit for a queen, send her on a long voyage of remembrance where she is hailed by all who knew her. She will eat cake with me and it will be chocolate with a tender crumb and delicate rich dark life inside.
Causes Christine Bottaro Supports
The Nature Conservancy, California State Parks, The United Way