comes running up to my desk, in the middle of the
morning, with a small Tupperware container in her hand.
she says excitedly. "I know it isn't on our diet, but you've got
to try this!" And she waves a forkful of something dark and gooey and
dangerous-looking in front of my face. I obediently
mouth and allow her to slide the plastic fork between my lips.
woman in this office is on a diet at the moment, it seems.
me: I'm back on The
after months of backsliding. (In my case, I had no choice but to go
back on the diet: I
gave away all of my fat clothes last year, and now even the stretchiest
Size 12's are starting to feel pinchy around the waist again.) Jane and
JoAnne are doing Weight Watchers together. Even Dawn, my favorite of
the young environmental technicians (because she reminds me so much of
my daughters) is stoically working toward fitting into her wedding
dress this fall. The office refrigerator is crammed so full of diet
soda and baby carrots and bland pricey frozen entrees, we could
probably open our own Jenny Craig franchise.
only Dirt Company
on a diet currently is The
New Girl, who basically subsists on Junior Mints and Yoohoo and never
gains an ounce.)
watches my face as I roll the mystery dessert around in my mouth. It's
some kind of cake, obviously: something rich and moist and densely
textured. Plus there is a dark sweet underlying flavor that I can't
this?" I ask finally,
swallowing the mouthful with great relish.
Jane beams at me.
"It's Kahlua Cake," she says proudly. "My sister made it: isn't it
not going to get me drunk or anything, is it?" I joke.
you WISH!" she replies, laughing. She offers me another bite -- No
thanks, I tell her: one bite is my legal limit -- and then she wanders
off down the hallway towards her office, Tupperware container in hand,
freely dispensing bites of Kahlua Cake to all of the other Dirt Company
only kidding about the cake getting me drunk, of
course. I stopped worrying about stuff like that a long time ago. The
further I move through the recovery process, the more comfortable I
become about these things. I know that even if the alcohol didn't burn
off during the cooking, it would still take a lot more than one forkful
of Kahlua Cake (or Chicken Marsala, or Beer-Battered Onion Rings, or
Bananas Flambé at Le Cheval) to compromise my hard-won
If I ever do backslide -- and I try to remain respectfully mindful of
that possibility, at all times -- it's not likely to be triggered by
something I eat. It's far more likely to be "triggered" by me
going to the
corner liquor store, plunking down my money and buying the biggest
cheapest box of Mountain Chablis on the shelf.
few minutes later my intercom is buzzing. Jane is on the other end.
my god, I am
SO sorry," she whispers, sounding stricken. "I wasn't even thinking."
She doesn't come right out and say it, but of course we both know
exactly what she's referring to. I
forgot that you're an alcoholic, and here I go and offer you KAHLUA
worry about it," I reassure her. "I can handle it."
nice of her to
remember, and to be concerned. It sort of reminds me of when Jaymi was
visiting last month, and she worried that David and I would feel
'uncomfortable' if she ordered a margarita with her enchilada. But the
fact is that it's totally unnecessary to tiptoe around me this way.
Kahlua was never my drink anyway, I tell Jane. And one bite of Kahlua
Cake isn't going to have me dreaming about wine boxes and beer
schooners and ice-cold pitchers of martinis tonight, when I lay my head
on my pillow and drift off to sleep.
it's sure as hell gonna have me dreaming about CAKE.
throw a rock?