A single bite and her world would change forever. She didn’t know what the cost would be, frankly, she could care less, it wasn’t something one thought of. It was something she was taught to do. A sacrifice she was willing to make for the one she loved. One of a few she people she had in this world and she would not lose them. They had been there for her through so much. However, she knew the feeling was not mutual for one. She knew they could live without her but she could not without them. She would still have been willing to take that single bite if it meant things would play out as they should. She had disrupted so much already and by taking a bite she could course correct.
Kaci was more than a miracle, she in theory should never have existed. Twenty-five, that’s how old Kaci’s parents were when they received the news. A couple with their whole life ahead of them yet unable to create life. They were given the usual spiel of alternate plans had for them and opportunities in their grasp. They wanted none of that. They were ready to give up, ready to accept the one thing they wanted but couldn’t have. At least that’s what would be believed based on perception.
Kaci’s mother fulfilled her dream of becoming a teacher. Surrounded by little ones she so desperately wanted. She gave that love to her students. Caring for each of them as if they were her very own, year after year. She didn’t let her tragedy ruin the amount of love she had to offer. Her husband on the other hand wanted to give Kelly all she ever wanted. He wanted each dream she laid out in her childhood diary to come true. The job, the husband, the child, and what else she could dream of between summer vacations. He sought out anyone who would listen. Gave a dollar to anyone with their hand-stretched and a 10-second opinion of what he should do.
Until he met Madam Buvilier, she was the first to not take a penny from him. He found her through a mutual friend. His friend Rella had just opened a bakery beside Madam Buvilier’s shop and had told him of the things she heard about the customers departing. He wouldn’t have believed it from anyone else but he took the words of his friend to be true. That next day, after Rella had told him the story of the man that had entered sick almost unable to walk leaving with perfect posture as if nothing had ailed him before.
Rella told him in a joking manner, convinced that it was a show put on for those watching but Marcin believed it was another avenue to walk down. He knew what she would say if he told her of his excitement to see Madam Buvilier. It was an unspoken belief among their community to not trust what can’t be presented in front of them unless however, it was in relation to faith. He knew of the laughter and judgment they bring to him, he wanted to avoid that in the hopes it would be worth it in the end.
He went to see her. At first, he was skeptical of the short line that awaited him. He hoped to get there early before Rella’s bakery opened. It was as if Madam Buvilier knew of his arrival. Just as he prepared to take a seat a person exited the private back room and he was ushered inside. It was instinct for him to look around before being introduced to a so-called miracle worker. He looked for proof of success, pictures, testimonials, any proof that this was the place to seek answers. Being stopped before getting the chance to look around raised a red flag for him.
“Skeptical you are?” She spoke to him through her thick New Orleans accent.
“With a right to be.” He responded.
“You are not here for you.” She met his eyes as they spoke.
“My wife, she wants a child of her own.” He said hoping his confession would lead to something.
“Not enough taking care of other people’s babies hmm?” She asked as she sat at the table placed between them. He didn’t answer, just looked at her with more skepticism, wondering how she knew of his wife’s profession.
They sat talking for fifteen minutes, conversing about hopes and aspirations that he believed a child would bring to his family. He mentioned how unaware his wife was of his quests to give her what he believed she desired. Madam Buvilier hung on to his every word. She allowed him to rant about his life amongst other things he was finally getting off his chest. As he talked, she got up from the table and roamed her private room. He was so entwined with what he was saying that he hadn’t noticed her in-depth search of something.
By the time he finished the discussion of himself and began to talk about his wife, she had found what she was searching for. She placed it in front of him only for him to pick it up almost instantly. He examined the contents within the small bottle even the bottle itself. She gestured for his exit and he stood slowly confused.
“What do I do?” He asked.
“Consume she must. For the child, avoid the red.” She guided him out of the room closing the door behind him, unwilling to answer any other questions.
He did as she said, preparing for his wife to consume the contents Madam Buvilier had given him. He was hopeful that it would work, after all, she was the first to not ask a price for the help she was providing. He prepared his mother’s renowned gumbo hoping the taste of what Madam Buvilier had given him would go undetected. He took the sign of her inability to taste a difference as good faith and the non-reaction as a sign he had not made a mistake.
In the nine months that followed they welcomed into the world a beautiful baby girl. One he named Kaci after his mother. Inspired by her gumbo that gave him hope. He was proud of the smile he put on his Wife’s face. A smile he had never seen before. He had made her childhood dream come true. He had gone to Madam Buvilier to sing her praises and thank her for the impossible she brought to fruition but her shop had been cleared out. Everything was gone as if it had never existed. He asked Rella at the following family dinner what came of Madam Buvilier.
“Who?” Rella looked at him confused.
“The woman who had space next to you a year ago.” He persisted but she seemed to not know what he was talking about. He reminded her of the story she told at that very table a year ago and she convinced him it was something she heard from a customer that she had not seen with her own eyes.
Sixteen years passed from that dinner, Kelly and Marcin’s daughter was now a young lady. She had Rella’s sense of fashion, unapologetic hair, and the outfit to match. She was always looking for a cause to fight for. Whether it was for girls that looked like her or people in an opposite situation. Kelly had to constantly tell her to be safe and Marcin worried that anything could hurt her because of what he’d done and the person he could not ask questions of.
Kelly was celebrating twenty years as a kindergarten teacher. Rella thought it’d be a great idea to make her a specialty cake that she usually only made for special occasions. A red velvet cake with strawberry cream cheese icing. It was two of Kelly’s favorite things made into one perfectly shaped apple to make light of the teacher cliché. It brought a smile to her face to see it revealed at her party. Surrounded by her fellow teachers and now young adult students that she left an imprint on. They wished her happiness as she blew out her candles on her ostentatious cake.
Kelly taught Kaci when she was young that greed was a dishonorable trait. She instilled in her the true meaning of carelessness in being able to sacrifice something you really want if it meant it would bring joy to someone else. An example of this lesson was that Kaci was always to give her first slice of birthday cake to the person that had impacted her life the most that year. She often gave it to her mother, her father on a few lucky occasions, and even once to Rella the first time she took her to the beauty shop as her birthday present. Following in her own teachings Kelly decided to give her first slice of cake to her daughter.
“Thank you for motivating me to keep teaching my work babies.” She gestured to those gathered around her and emotional laughter surrounded them. Kaci looked for her dad in the hopes of catching his contagious smile but he was wrapped in a conversation. He received a call from work, calls that often involved pulling his attention away from the present. Kaci turned back to the party and took the first bite of celebratory cake as her mother cut pieces for others surrounding her.
As Kelly handed the next piece to Rella she saw out the corner of her eye Kaci falling to the ground. Kaci had collapsed and no one was able to catch her in time. She laid on the ground breathless, no signs of choking, no slow understandable death, just gone. No pulse, no heartbeat, no clear reason. It didn’t stop Kelly from administering CPR. She cried in panic as her baby girl laid still on the floor. Marcin pulled away from his call by the commotion ran through the crowd to find his unconscious daughter in his wife’s arms. Laid beside her without a dent or smash on it was her slice of cake only missing one bite and as red as it could be.
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Wow! Dad was told to avoid the red! Smh 😔