“Vanilla”, Kyle responded, providing the desired flavor for the icing on his birthday cake.
From beyond the bedroom he could hear his girlfriend repeating the response into a phone, “…yes…vanilla icing – My name? L-I-Z ...” He let her voice fade into the background as he raised the volume on the ALT-J cassette he recently purchased, and took a deep breath.
Recently, a typically composed Kyle, found that he had trouble collecting himself on the high holidays. Christmas…Urban Outfitters sidewalk sales…and now his birthday...all seemed to cause a welling feeling in his gut that began percolating days prior to the anticipated event. A mix of excitement, eagerness, and anxiety began rattling at his knees and tickling the back of his neck like an ill-advised leap into a pool of Rook iced coffee.
Today was particularly chilling.
He mulled over the bubbling belly brew, once again trying to shake the carbonation as he had so often in the past few months. However, it would seem time was his only remedy.
So Kyle busied himself with preparation for the days festivities, cultivating his look, like a scientist growing a culture; bringing together fabrics he would spawn technicolor life, and therefore, purpose. The mirror served as a microscope, where he analyzed his Petr-dish and his practiced "confused look". The resulting cellular growth responded equally perplexed.
The frozen wave ebbed back. Trying to quell the building panic, Kyle turned his focus back to his wardrobe.
The clothing was a net made of charcoal, capturing the butterflies swarming in his stomach. He caught himself running his hand across the kaleidoscoping sleeves of freshly laundered flannel spaced in his closet. His fingertips moving like taste buds, rolling the sugar coating off of a Tums.
He repeated to himself, "Look good...feel good..."
From the bowels of their apartment, just under the gentle hum of his mantra and the electronic rhythm of Minus the Bear, he could hear Liz belt out, “Don't wear a hat!”
Everything buzzed into focus. He caught his reflection once again, this time tricking it into submission. Kyle smiled and took off his knit beanie.
The rest of the day would be a piece of cake.
“Piece of cake,” Kyle thought, “How meta...”
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