The Cashier by Ashley McAtee
The cake is marble, cut into perfect one inch slices and placed on lavender party plates around the table. You would much prefer to cut your own your piece, or better yet, put one of the grandma's in charge of it, then everybody would get a big hunk and the extra frosting that fell of the last piece. This is what old southern ladies do. You would be sure to be last in line, so she could scrape the excess frosting and crumbs onto the side of your plate. Take tiny bites to make it last longer. The others at your table talk about the wedding as if they are reviewing it for a social magazine. They crescendo and gasp about the appetizers and the ceremony and the ice sculpture which was just enough without going over the top and did you hear how much the groom's family chipped in I always thought the brides family paid for all this. Chuckle a little, with your mouth full. They look at you, and at your mother, and you begin to sweat. Oh your mother. She's sitting next to you, a silent boulder of a pink linen dress with zippers that pucker and sleeves that cut and they are looking at the two of you and you can feel the questions coming on. Swallow your cake. You hear it make that cartoon gulp sound as it slowly, slowly goes down. Someone wants to know, do you still work up at Smith's and answer yes and yes, still, since high school. Your mother blurts out "Oh, but she's workin' the cashreshter now, that's quite a bit better ain't it Sis?" These are her first words of the whole night. Smile. Look down at your dress, smooth the zippers and try to hold your arms in a way that they'll look thin coming out of your dress. You are a fat trapeze artist. Decide it's no use. Take another bite of cake and a deep breath. This will all be over soon. Exhale.