Marzipan by Martha Lane

You’re allergic to almonds. You’re sensitive to a lot of things. Soy, kiwi, cashews, pistachios, endless cosmetic products, cleaning fluids, certain materials, cats, grass and dust. But you’re only allergic to almonds. They make you sick. I keep a bar of marzipan in my drawer at work. Wash my hands and brush my teeth after every golden nugget.

I woke up this morning with an itch for something sweet.

You taught me how to make cakes. To bake biscuits, pastry and bread. Showed me sugars of different hues, taught me which powders help sponges rise. Our recipe book is caked (sorry, I know you hate puns) in flakes of old batter. Grease smudges showing our favourites. Lemon drizzle and carrot. Chocolate and sour cream if it’s a special occasion.

I woke up this morning with an itch for something sweet.

On the shelves in the shop, in slick green packaging, ivory almond flour. I think of the recipe, the glossy double-page spread in the middle of our book. Close ups of moist honey-coloured crumbs. Corners noticeably free of flour and butter fingerprints. Because you’re allergic to almonds.

I’ve always wanted to try that cake. Whole orange, almond and polenta. I want to make that cake. But you’re allergic to almonds. I’m going to bake that cake.

It’s a loud cake, a blitzed cake. The blades judder and spit when they strike against seeds. The kitchen smells citrus sharp, tart. Delicious. Spatula scraping, the mixture is poured. Velvet ribbons folding. Raw batter sits on the counter for hours. I don’t know if I can cook the cake. Smells of soap now. I wanted something special for our anniversary. I don’t know if I can cook something just for me.

You were allergic to almonds.

Martha Lane is a writer by the sea. Her flash has been published by Sledgehammer, Perhappened, Bandit, Reflex fiction, Briefly Zine, and Ellipsis among others. Balancing too many projects at once is her natural state. Tweets @poor_and_clean.