by Amye Barrese
months I was an artist. Red, green, blue, purple,
bluish-green, red with a streak of white, an ugly
brown fused together by red, blue, and green.
These were the colors that adorned my coat
everyday when I came home from work. I was
stained by my art, streaked with inspiration,
dyed the color of artistic freedom. Every day
from six o'clock in the morning until two in the
afternoon, I was Picasso. Passerbys would stop
dead in their tracks and stare at my work.
she do it?" some would gasp.
genius!" Others would mutter.
would freeze, their wide gaping eyes amazed at
the virtual pinwheel of color before them. The
whites of their eyes became gumballs in every
shade, cranberry red, sky blue, butterscotch
yellow. I saw them there, I was aware of them,
but it did not affect my work. I would simply
glance at them, knowing they envied me, relishing
in their jealousy. I created masterpieces. I
imagined an art critic would call my work a cross
between Kandinsky and Monet, bold in color,
romantic in execution.
whipped, non-dairy, and chocolate butter-cream.
These were my mediums. Cupcakes were available
also, but it was understood that you wouldn't get
my full artistic vision on a cupcake. I did
birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers,
bachelorette parties, graduations, and any other
occasion that required a sugar high to get
through. I was the Auguste Rodin of icing, I
could sculpt a pair of baby booties out of butter-cream
icing as skillfully as Michelangelo painting the
Sams Club, didn't find my art as intoxicating as
the customers. They felt that for the hefty
salary of seven dollars an hour, that I should
obey the status quo, which was like decorating
cakes for Nazi Germany.
My manager Lori hobbled over to me on her fake
left leg, "Did you do a cake for the
Bushinski graduation yesterday?"
roses are allowed on a graduation cake?"
Lori glared at me.
"Two on a
quarter sheet, three on a half, and five on a
full sheet, with two rosebuds for each rose."
I was beginning to sweat, the colors streaking
together on my apron as I wiped my brow with it.
said you put thirty seven roses and several vines
on the Bushinski cake."
to express the idea that graduation was the
blooming of possibility."
I worked two
more days at Sams Club until I had to move back
to college for the year. As I left my boss told
me their icing costs were three times as high
while I was working there, than ever before. They
never called me to come back. I like to think
that somewhere out there, Ms. Bushinski and her
family are still talking about that fifteen pound