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February 14, 2005
A Valentine's Day bake-off today for Rosie and friends: individual warm chocolate cakes and something else not yet decided upon, maybe lemon tarts. They will be here soon -- the young people, I mean, not the tarts. But no -- I now remember that I must go to get them from school, and Q is not yet back from the store -- where he is buying chocolate -- with the car we share. Hold on, guys -- I'll be there as soon as I can.

It's a feast day, I tell him, when he reminds me that he eschews chocolate during Lent. You suspend these asceticisms on feast days. He notices that Valentine isn't listed among our lesser feasts, that today is Cyril and Methodius instead, and that he's never heard you could suspend your Lenten fast on a minor saint's day anyway.

But Cyril and Methodius are two saints, I point out. Surely that counts for something. I can tell he is unconvinced. So it may be that Rosie and friends will have to take all the little chocolate cakes home with them when they leave.

Making them is the fun thing, anyway. Teenagers in the kitchen, with their music and their humor, that odd mixture of slapstick and satire. Teenagers measuring and stirring and sifting, melting chocolate, breaking eggs, losing interest and running outside, upstairs, onto the computer, returning only when intoxicating smells from the oven lure them back.

They are not mine to keep. They are only mine to entertain on occasion. Actually, they are not anybody's to keep: they are on their way out the door, in these last years of high school, never to return, not in the same form: Sugar-sweet, butter-soft, sour as lemons, dark as dark chocolate, delicate as a souffle, these tender young hearts. They must be handled so carefully.
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