Word count: 486
The Prospect of His Future
By Marea Needle
Evelyn quickly pulled Theo’s birthday cake out of the oven. After it cooled, she
frosted it with the thick white icing he loved, then added sprinkles. “Perfection..” she
said out loud. At 72, Evelyn considered her talents as a baker undiminished; even
believing her skills could out-match Freida, owner of the best bakery in town: Freida’s
Pastries on Division Street.
Today at noon would be Theo’s celebration. Arrangements were in place, first lunch,
then his cake on a fancy platter.
Her son, her love, her firstborn came into this world with learning issues, impaired
motor skills and developmental factors. Still she named him Theodore, meaning: one
who god loves. She and her husband Milton coped as best they could; certain classes,
programs, whatever they could find for him. Her heart eternally broken, she forged on,
crying for hours throughout the years in private and with Milton who with his stoic
attitude kept himself distant. Since he had been dead for 10 years, now she was the
pillar of strength for Theo.
Arriving where he lived, always jolted Evelyn back to reality:
a special residence with 12 others, all varied on the spectrum.
Evelyn brought in the cake setting it down on the decorated pre-set table. Aides
assisted and joined in the festivities.
“Hello Theo.” Evelyn walked over to him leaning down to kiss her beloved on the
“Happy Birthday dear.”
“Hi momma.” Her 48 -year old son answered happily.
“I made your special birthday cake, with sprinkles.”
Nodding he smiled, rocking back and forth in his chair.
“Everyone” Evelyn entreated. “Lets all sing happy birthday to Theo.”
As she lit a few of the candles on the cake, she started singing. The aides chimed in
with some residents “la-la-la-ing” along. The cake was cut and Evelyn passed it out.
Roy, a resident, came up to Theo asking: “How old are you today?”
“I’m 48, yes 48, 48.”
“You need birthday whacks.” Roy laughed and added: “I can use my belt.”
Roy continued laughing.
“No birthday whacks, no whacks, no whacks.”
Theo started to eat his cake, rocking back and forth.
“Momma, cake is dry, too dry. Why is it dry?”
Evelyn stunned, pretends to overlook his comment. “Then drink some soda, wash it
“Ok.” Theo slurps his soda noisily.
At the end of Theo’s brief party, Evelyn cleared away the plates and soda cups
tossing them into the trash. She took her cake platter brushing off the remaining
crumbs and wrapped the leftover slices for the rest of the staff. Aides began to gently
usher the residents to their next program down the hall.
“Bye momma, have to go.”
Evelyn kisses her adored on the head.
“Bye, bye sweetheart.”
Back in the car, Evelyn repeatedly bangs on the steering wheel with both hand
bawling: ”Dry cake, dry cake, dry, dry cake.”