Sarah Lee

Posted on 15 November 2005


A round lemon cheesecake lies on a square plate between Brendan and I. The plate sits on a round table with a graphic eyeball drawn onto it. We’re at a restaurant inside a modern art museum, and after a shared salad and an excellent main course, we’re sharing the ultimate cheesecake. We know its good before we dive in. Brendan ordered this the other night when we came for the bar, and ended up having tea and dessert. We were so impressed with the cheesecake we thought we should come back for dinner. We skip the small talk and dig in. My fork glides through the mousse-like lemon filling, then drills its way through the crumbly crust that lies underneath. I take small bites and let the mousse melt in my mouth. It’s thick, yet smooth, sweet; yet mild. It’s perfect. We know it. Brendan rubs his bites into the raspberry syrup, but I don’t want any distraction from the lemon. I think of my dad’s sister, who used to make the most amazing cheesecakes when we’d visit for thanksgiving. Brendan tells me she made an Oreo crust. No wonder. He sets down his fork and leaves me the last bite. “Finish it,” he says. “I will,” I answer, and take half of the last remaining morsel and slide it through my lips. I’m slowly moving it around my mouth when Brendan looks down at the last bite and says “Too slow,” as he pops it into his mouth.

oh what a place to be for cheesecake.
we all know it. new york, new york… cheesecake
the store was packed. tiny. sky blue with rainbows and hearts. “made with love just for you!” they cried out in lovely red letters. and who could deny that their claims were anything but true?
the display case was full with tiny rounds, rainbows of rounds. strawberries, chocolate, lemon, pumpkin, plain, squiggles, everything! and at 2.50 a share?
we get two, one plain, one strawberry, and a cup of milk, and take a seat on the park bench that sits underneath a miriage of photos of happy customers and employees.
my fork slips into the crumb-dusted edge of the plain cake, and it hovers in front of my mouth. at first there is nothing there but the creamiest of textures. suddenly there it is: that sweet tang. the subtle mellow sweetness with just the right edge of zing and zang. before i know it, it’s all gone, and so are we, back out into the bustle of soho, dodging the shoppers and traffic.

Sitting in Bojangles. New York cheesecake in front of me. Tall cup of hot coffee too. I know I’m exhausted
but clean. Just showered. Had the most restless night in a long time. Hardly slept and set the alarm for five
to prepare for garage sale.

As I write, I eat several bites of cheesecake that melt in my mouth. Had imagined cheesecake with a tangy raspberry sauce but not to be found – tried Dalaney’s first. Still this has flavour, is good good, reminds me of the old days when I
was more self-indulgent.

Yes, it is good. Too rich but still I love it though I am not now the same sweet person as way back when. (Is this a clue?) This morning I swore that I would be the bitch from hell at the garage sale – even put up a sign that read “No bargaining until after 10 a.m. – but then I put on a black cowgirl hat and couldn’t play the part of bitch: I was country, down-home, maple syrup, and sold a bundle. (Later in the day, I switched to cap, worn backwards and sweet talked a guy into buying a matching one.)

Cheesecake, high thin slice, sweet, sweeter than strawberry wine. My mind spins, is tired, oh so tired. I wrap one hand around the cup and it warms me as much as the liquid in my mouth. I’m dreamy, eating cheesecake.

This morning, I did play the bitch from hell once when someone offered me too little for something. I pointed to the sign
and they stomped away.

I bite into another piece of cheesecake. It sticks to my teeth. Good. Then another. I am content but oh so weary. I wish
my head would stop talking. Bite again. Top looks like caramel. Another bite. I cannot eat more. So I ask the server
for a wrapper and take it home with me.

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