Laurel and I met the first day I moved into my dorm room at the Millbrook School as random roommates. We liked each other right away, but it was not until we were sitting in the basement of Clark (our dormitory) on the floor, crouched behind an ancient refrigerator door shoving cake into our faces that we really planted the seed of a true and lasting friendship.
High school is already a strange place. Replace the term “high” with “boarding” and things get even weirder. It’s all the social and hormonal pressure of high school but you all happen to live together.
For people with food always on the brain, which Laurel and I soon discovered we both were, boarding school can pose some issues. You are beholden to what the dining hall is preparing that day and you can only keep so much peanut butter and granola bars stashed away in your room for emergencies before you get sick of them.
Every once and a while, someone’s birthday would roll around and a cake would appear in the fridge. We all knew when someone’s birthday was coming up, but what we really cared about was the possibility of cake. We knew that it came from the dining hall’s kitchen, ordered by someone’s parents, but it still seemed so magical how it would just appear in the dorm unannounced.
There was a certain feeling inside the hallways when a cake was coming, a silent anticipation and wondering when the words would be spoken….“cake, cake, cake!” Everyone bombarded the birthday girl and forks flew into the giant, rectangular cake. Under-baked, gooey, messy, yellow cake with chocolate frosting that was so disgustingly good.
Laurel and I waited until everyone was done, when the chaos died down and the sugar coma commenced. All the girls would leave the common room and the cake would be left in the white, retro, communal icebox fridge that was in the basement. This is when we made our move.
We snuck downstairs as if we weren’t supposed to be going down there, looked around, grabbed two metal forks from the pile on top of the fridge that were stolen from the dining hall along with a collection of other random plates and cups. We opened the fridge door and sat down on the pilled, dirty, flat, blue carpet. Shielded by the door we dove in with our forks.
The taste of that cake will be with me forever, reminiscent of a box-mix but in a good way. The deep cocoa flavor of the soft, mouth-coating frosting and the sweet, buttery, dense yellow cake that was so under-baked it stuck to the roofs of our mouths, kept us going back for more. We ate and ate, dropping crumbs all over the floor and ourselves, hoping no one would walk in on our sacred cake-devouring moment. It was in those moments when Laurel and I really became friends. Reveling in the cake they didn’t eat.
words by Rachel DeSimone