“Hot, hot, hot, hot, hot”, said Anna Mae. She pulled the baking pan from the oven and quickly placed it on the stove top. She tore off her oven mitts and blew on her slightly singed finger tips.
“I always forget how hot that gets. My word”, she said to the empty kitchen. She wiped her recovering hands on her apron and checked the thermometer sticking out from the edge of the tin foil wrap. She read the gauge and smiled; being satisfied with the results.
“I do believe that’s just right”, she chuckled to herself. She turned to her counter and surmised the baking damage. Two large mixing bowls, the mixer, the hand mixing, the egg shells, the sweetener, the powdered sugar, the flour, the knife, the cocoa, the vanilla, and the milk all spread out in a long chain of creative destruction.
“Now for the special ingredient and it’ll be all done”, she said. She turned to the cupboard behind her. It was a special cupboard with a large heart shaped padlock holding its contents safely locked away. Anna Mae reached down the front of her blouse and produced a thick black skeleton key on a string and put it into the padlock. She mumbled a few words of prayer and then turned the key in the lock. There was a clicking noise and a heavy thunk as the padlock released and came away from the clasp. Anna Mae returned the key to its safe place against her heart and took the padlock off the cupboard.
The cupboard was empty except for a very small blue vile placed on the center shelf. It had a slight luminescence to it and there was the faint sound of children giggling with each shimmery wave. Anna Mae took the small bottle from the shelf and pulled the tiny cork from its mouth. The air became filled with the scent of roses and lilies and dirt after a spring rain. It made Anna Mae smile and took her back to her earliest days in the kitchen when she would make this special recipe with her grandmother. It always took her there no matter how many times she made it.
Anna Mae turned back to the now cooling creation on the baking pan and pulled back the tin foil. She started humming a small tune, the same tune her grandmother used to hum. It didn’t have any words but sounded like an old spiritual song from the darker days of their past. She gingerly sprinkled a few drops from the blue vial onto her baked goods. Each drop had a faint sizzle as it hit the crust and seemed to evaporate in. The aromas released swelled in the little kitchen and Anna Mae marveled at how much it smelled like love. In fact, it was just an overpowering happy smell she couldn’t help but wrap her arms around herself and give herself a happy little hug.
“Perfect”, she said.
She re-corked the blue vial and returned it to the cupboard. She reattached the padlock and locked it up tight. She was already looking forward to the next time she got to use it. There was a murmur behind Anna Mae and she smiled again.
“Just a second darling”, she said.
She fixed her hair a little and wiped her hands on her apron again. She closed her eyes and turned around to face the stove. A quiet cry from the baby on the stove. Anna Mae picked the child up and held her close to her bosom and started humming a lullaby and rocking the small new baby.
“You’re made out of love my sweet child, and love is what will sustain you all of your days”, said Anna Mae. She rocked gently as the little baby girl gently fell asleep.