The woman felt self-conscious as she took a bite of the cake. Her co-worker kept coming into her office each time she tried to eat it. It was weird, like he was trying to catch her in the act of eating cake on the clock.
I’m on salary, damn it. If I want to eat cake on the clock, I can eat cake on the clock.
Her co-worker waited outside of her door, listening for the crinkling sound of aluminum foil.
Ah-ha! She is eating it, at last!
The man peered into the office where the woman sat with a Styrofoam plate in her lap. She sensed his silent, peering presence as he waited for her to eat the cake.
Aluminum foil was peeled back from around the white plate to reveal a generous slice of moist and rich chocolate cake.
“You brought the cake, so stop trying to catch me eating it.”
The woman glanced at the man and laughed. A dark cloud crossed over her face; it passed as quickly as it arrived. Something was definitely weird. This was his third cake-related time in her office today, starting with the delivery of “Just a little treat for later” first thing in the morning.
Its no stranger than his usual day-to-day weirdness, she reasoned. I am sure its just a kick he’s on and its kind of nice. He must know how much I love cake.
“I wanted to make sure you liked it,” the man explained, feigning an air of innocence that the woman found hard to believe.
Earlier, the man stood in her doorway, triggered by the crinkle-crunkling of aluminum foil. He saw the plate in the woman’s hand, it was half way unwrapped.
Butterflies released from his stomach, the woman was about to eat the cake. He could hardly stand his excitement and then the phone rang. His heart fell into his orthopeadic shoes. The woman placed the plate on a stack of papers on the side of the desk and answered the call.
The man crept further into the office, “Just checking for a fax for someone down the hall,” he said with his eyes downcast.
The woman remained on the phone, covered the mouthpiece with one manicured hand and whispered, “I’ll let you know if something comes though.”
He left, heavy and weighed down with disappointment. Perhaps, she will never eat the cake, he wondered. I must have faith, he reminded himself in an effort to steady his nerves, jangled from the phone call.
Now the time was the right. The man felt relief watching the woman dig into the cake. She forked a massive glob of cake into her mouth and smiled. Her teeth were brown from the chocolate frosting.
“This is really good, thanks so much for thinking of me especially after I called you a creep.”
The man did not feel bad about what was about to happen. In fact, he felt nothing at all other than an incredible lightness. He took a deep breath and filled his lungs.
“Agree to disagree,” the man said without any expression. His eyes sparkled as he clung to the door frame watching the woman swallow bite after bite.
“We simply have to agree to disagree,” he repeated. He looked at his wrist watch and noted the time.
Now he just had to wait.