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The cake sat before my lustful eyes, all three layers of it. I tried to steer my gaze back towards the lines and dots of the page, but the pull of grassy green leaves and lemony blossoms on a flat white backdrop won. Clementi, shlementi, I thought, as happy shrieks from my friends, playing across the street, pierced my concentration. A bright, sunny afternoon and there I was, stuck over the leering ebony and ivory.

Earlier that day my sister had pranced into the house with her best friend’s wedding cake, placing it on the formidable black surface of the piano to await its grand entrance at the reception a few hours later. The piano was safe, she assumed, from the wandering tongues of the various cats and dogs who roamed our house. She forgot about my tongue. Well, surely she expected better restraint on my part. But honestly…I’m no saint.

A ragged and gnawed fingernail surgically removed a tiny leaf from the side of the cake. Ummmm. Bliss. — Practice; Clementi. — Do the different colors actually taste different? — Another careful incision, this time extracting a flower petal. Did that taste of lemon? Hmmm, hard to say. — Well, that’s dumb, now the flower looks lopsided; better even it out. Ummmm. — Now that flower looks different from the other flowers; better fix them all…

Clementi or frosting?

Clementi was no match for the temptation of sugar that afternoon, as I squirreled my way around the cake. To be honest, I don’t even remember the shriek that must have accompanied my sister’s discovery of my artistic editing. I do still feel remorse, even now, for her mortification at arriving at the wedding with a denuded cake. And I never did decide if the different colors had different flavors. It all seemed sort of thick and pasty.