I sat still, rigid actually, not moving. Barely breathing. Perched on my thighs, my two hands caressing the sides, an open box with cargo weighing 20-plus pounds settled.
The pressure proved almost unbearable.
What if I sneezed? Coughed? Spit while talking? Spit while not talking? Oozed saliva in a fit of panic...the possibilities seemed endless.
Not a speck of foreign matter must settle on the object my hands lovingly embraced.
What if any part of my body itched and the urge to scratch became relentless and intolerable? How could I release a hand to handle the problem? Would the box move, the precious cargo tilt, touch the side of the box and an imperfection appear on the perfect, flawless object secured between the sweaty palms of my hands? (After all I was in Florida, an ancient word meaning fiercely hot and unbearably humid much of the year.)
The pressure. An awesome responsibility.
The task undertaken: transporting a two-tiered, rectangular black-and-white cake from bakery to its final destination. A half-hour journey.
I sat upright in the passenger seat, the hefty yet elegant delicacy centered on a flat silver base inside the open box. The cake rose high above the sides of the box, each tier composed of two cakes with filling between, coated with a fondant icing. The cake appeared level with the top of the dashboard, the top decorative ribbons curled in the center of the top tier, the cake looking like two large gifts for the birthday girl.
I kept one eye on the movable, unanchored cake, which I hoped remained immobile, and one eye on the road. No potholes please, no abrupt stops, no precarious turns, simply a slow smooth ride.
The air conditioning blasted per instructions from the pastry chef who placed the object on my lap, breathed a sigh of relief the cake was off his hands and no longer his responsibility and bounded away. It was important to keep the pastry cool he noted before departing, otherwise the beautiful concoction might begin to melt. The air blew my hair around. It wasn’t a bother, but another worry. What if one of my brownish-gray wayward locks escaped and landed atop the spotless white top tier or chocolate bottom layer? An undesirable disaster.
The minutes ticked away. The car edged closer to our final destination, glided up to the front door and stopped. The car door opened and a set of hands grasped the cake—gasping at the weight—and walked away.
I breathed a huge sigh of relief, the awesome pressure off.
A few hours later I tasted the source of my short-lived stress.
It was worth it.
Happy 70 Paula!