I was standing behind the counter of a cake shop, taking orders over the phone when little Mimi walked in with her grandfather.
I placed the phone down and greeted them with a smile. Mimi carefully eyed the cakes on display, pointed at the one she liked and looked at her grandfather.
He gave me a nod. I took the cake out of its slot and placed it over the counter.
“What is the occasion?” I asked holding an icing bag in my hand.
“It’s my birthday,” Mimi said with a smile.
“Oh Happy Birthday Mimi! How old have you turned today?”
“Seven” she gestured with her fingers.
I placed the cake along with seven candles into a box and gave it to her.
“Thank you!” she said with a big smile on her face.
The respected senior and I exchanged a word before they walked out.
‘Kids find joy in the simplest of things, I thought to myself. It’s only a cake after all…’
My thoughts were broken when I received a call from a customer.
What started as a pleasant conversation soon turned into a heated argument over delivery and price issues.
Debates with customers always left me in a sour mood and to add to the woes, it began to rain heavily. Heavy rain in my village meant a slump in the sales with people choosing to stay indoors than leave their houses to grab a bite.
The situation continued the next day. I walked out of the shop and sat on the attached staircase, mindlessly looking at the downpour while a chain of worrisome thoughts began to fill my mind.
A while later I got up to walk inside just when I felt someone tugging at my shirt. I turned around and noticed that it was little Mimi.
“Oh hello!” How was your birthday?”
“It was nice. We had a party. The cake was nice too.”
“I’m glad you had fun.” I playfully pulled her cheek.
“Why are you so sad?” she asked.
“Sad? Me? Nah, it’s just a normal day.”
“No you’re sad.”
Kids somehow get the inclination that something is wrong by merely an observation.
‘My life’s in a mess, business is slow and the one guy I like doesn’t reciprocate my feelings. I failed my driving test…’
“Just having a bad day at work,” I gave her a faint smile, not wanting to discuss my troubles and burdening the little mind.
“Here.” She pulled out a Rubik’s cube from her tiny bag.
“Where did you get that from?”
“Grandpa gave it to me. I was playing with it this afternoon but now I can’t get the alignment back. Do you know how to do?”
“Yes I do.”
And I spent the next half an hour playing with the cube and showing her some tricks to get the alignment back. I had completely forgotten my woes for a while. It was after a long time that I was doing something I enjoyed and felt happy about it.
“Do you have one?” She asked.
“No, I haven’t had one since I was 17.”
“But you’re good, why did you stop?”
‘Because I grew up and got so caught up with grown up problems that I left all my hobbies in a lurch.’
“Just…” I smiled and gently stroked her hair.
The downpour continued. She stretched her arm out and began to collect raindrops in her little palm.
“Do you play in the rain?”
“No, I don’t like the rain.”
‘I loved the rain once. The darkness in the atmosphere made me happy but now heavy rain means less business and the water seeps into the shop and…’
“Just…” I gave her a faint smile.
She grabbed my hand and asked me to join her.
“No no Mimi we’ll get drenched.”
“Just come.” The next thing I know, I was standing in the middle of an empty street with rain pouring all over me while little Mimi giggled and began to play.
I joined in the merriment and little did I know, I began to enjoy more than she did. I would do the same as a kid. I relived my childhood.
The rain stopped and I walked Mimi to her house. She asked me to come inside.
Mimi and I used a towel to dry ourselves.
“Thank you Mimi I had a lovely time.”
“I had fun. You’re not sad.”
“Yes, it’s been a while.”
“Why are grown ups always sad?”
“You’ll know when you grow older.”
“But why do you stop doing things you love?”
“Because time is…” I paused. I had no answer.
The little girl had imparted some wisdom. Why did I stop doing things I loved? In a bid to chase a mundane life and material needs, I had forgotten to live. I had forgotten to be happy. Happiness lied in simple things. How did I overlook that? Why did I abandon the child in me?
“I won’t now.” I grabbed my coat, about to leave.
“Where are you going?”
“To write a story.”
“Could I get a cake again?”
“Yes you can, I’ll bake it myself.” I had totally forgotten how much I loved to bake too. It was the reason I had opened a cake shop in the first place.
I walked out. It was pouring. I ditched my coat and let myself get drenched again. I began to do what I loved.
The darkness in the weather felt welcoming.