Chocolate Cake: A Short Story
Ding dong Bobby’s in the pie
He’s gobbling it up big time
Ding dong fatty, my oh my
His chubby cheeks are chomping
Chomp, a chomp, a chomp, a chomp…chompier
It’s Fatty with his excess!
Robert’s hand couldn’t stop shaking. His body felt so uncomfortable in such a way that made even his eyes itch. As he turned over the calendar to reveal the 1st of December, his fingers stuck to the page with sweat. He hated this month. When he switched on the radio, an audible doom began almost right on cue. The words blasted his ears and landed him right back to that horrendous time again.
Chomp a chomp…It’s fatty with his excess!
The jovial tones of the Christmas carol Ding Dong Merrily on High, made him want to heave.
‘Good morning Bobby’ Molly seemed especially chirpy when she spotted Robert enter the sliding doors at his local Price Right Supermarket.
‘Good Morning Molly, how are you today?’ She handed him a wire basket on his way into the store to collect his weekly supplies.
‘All the better for seeing you.’ Molly giggled.
I wish she would stop calling me Bobby and why has she gone all red in her face? He suspected she was being sarcastic. She was always making suggestive comments about him in a funny sort of way.
Ding Dong Bobby’s in the pie, he’s gobbling it up big time.
‘Oh no not AGAIN.’
The tune seemed to be haunting him. Rasping out of the speakers in corners; Ding Dong Bobby’s in the pie. The lyrics became instantly rewritten in his head instead of the ones that everyone else was familiar with.
‘Are you ok Bobby? I thought I heard you shouting’ Molly was concerned and wanted to help. He seemed so troubled.
Robert tried so hard not to let the words get to him, but in his head the alternative version of this carol was programmed in, ever since he made that ill-fated decision to join the choir at St Williams School in Smallgate.
Glancing in the mirror on the way past the clothing aisle, he slid his hands down towards the bottom of his jumper and pulled down on the hem. The soft black wool stretched and moulded over his thighs. It covered what he saw was his bulging stomach. Why did I wear this jumper today? It’s shrunk in the wash. I should’ve thrown it away. You can see my big, fat stomach. He wrapped his hefty jacket tightly around his body, shielding everyone from the disgust he saw. Then he pulled out a crumpled shopping list, stomping around the store desperate to finish his shopping and get out.
Ok here goes. Milk, bread, biscuits, oil. My God! He thought. Look at the special offer on those biscuits, two for a pound. He turned the corner ready to steer himself away from them.
‘Hello Sir, would you like to try this new cake? It’s the new one from The Cappa Cake Factory. It’s really yummy and gorgeous just like you.’
The shop assistant practically forced the cake into his mouth. The taste of the creamy dark chocolate was hard to resist. Its toffee fudge filling slipped deliciously down his throat. Instantly he was hooked. Two slices later he was salivating as his eyes became fixated on the cake, drawing him in, unable to resist the sweet temptation. He brought two boxes of the cake. Thoroughly revolted with his lack of willpower, he fled to leave red-faced and ashamed.
‘Hi Bobby, you’ve been busted I see! Good for you, Cappa Cakes are so scrummy.’
Molly beamed with delight while she wiped away evidence of the cake still smeared near the corner of his mouth.
‘Just leave me alone Molly and it’s Rob, not Bobby; Stop calling me by that ridiculous name!’
He stormed out of the supermarket leaving his basket full of shopping in the middle of the store. I can’t go to that store anymore; I’ve made such a fool of myself he thought.
How many times should I have to tell people I prefer to be called Rob? Rob was the man he wished to be; a man happy in his own skin, regardless of his size or what anyone thought. He’d be able to start again, shrug off the demons still haunting him.
Mother always insisted on calling him Bobby. Everyone in the store called him that name, even after his mother passed away. She often used to say “Rob” sounded like some drug- induced hippy. Every time Robert tried to get her to change, she’d laugh and ridicule the puny pleads of protest:
‘Bobby darling, mother knows best. Please don’t put me through all of this; you know I haven’t got long for this world.’
Robert never argued with mother. She was terminally ill after all. For more than fifteen years Robert believed his mother’s lamentations about her health. Last year she died in her sleep of natural causes. How could she hold a person to ransom like that for all that time? She controlled him; everything he ate, how much and when was all down to her.
The run for the bus home was a challenge that almost crippled him. His heart-felt like tiny shards of glass snapping into pieces; sharp and jagged. His breath became laboured and he couldn’t stop sweating. Yet again he promised to himself once more to sort this all out. That bloody Christmas tune, bloody Christmas; I hate it! Robert was still seething about what had happened in the store. His anger became worse when the bus drove past his old school. There were some teenage boys jostling with each other, calling each other names in jest. It reminded him of his time at St Williams. His mother made sure his first day was one he’d never forget.
‘Mum, please just drop me at the bus stop.’ Pleading was not going to make a difference. Bessie had made up her mind. Arm in arm, she walked with her son.
‘Bobby darling I bet most of the boys secretly hope their mothers would take them in on their first day. You’re just being a bit too sensitive.’
Robert’s mother loved fussing over her son and of course feeding her beautiful boy who was deliciously chubby with rosy red cheeks. The bullying of course began that first term when he was spotted with mother going through the gate. He had a rucksack full of food, clothes that gaped with the tightness of pastry wrapped in Cling Film, and several red lipstick stains plastered on his cheeks. The misery escalated to another level during a rehearsal for that fateful Christmas choir concert; for a dare, Peter and his mates changed the lyrics to the tune of Ding Dong Merrily on High to feature Robert and thus began his nightmare that would torment him for the remainder of his school days.
Two months had passed and Robert needed to get some shopping in. He decided to walk there rather than take the bus, fed up with the nasty taunts and jibes he was having to endure almost daily when he travelled by public transport. The new kids at St Williams had begun all over again to pick on him about his size when they travelled back and forth to school.
“I left that hell hole years ago and they still hate me.”
Robert had taken again to wearing a large overcoat to cover everything. He thought it best if no one was able to see his repulsive body.
He found himself outside Price Right. Molly had just left the store on her break. I’ve got to apologise, it’s not her fault I’m a mess. I have to make things right again.
‘My goodness. Hi Bobby, I mean Rob.’ Molly was stunned to see him.
‘Molly. I’m sorry. I-I was awful to you.’ He blurted the words out not thinking about what it sounded like.
‘Rob, it’s ok. I’m glad to see you. I was hoping you’d come back in. I wanted to give you this.’ Molly pulled out of her handbag a card. He was puzzled at her look of concern. He turned over the small green and white card and read the words; Eating Disorders Anonymous. Surely she can’t be thinking of me? I’m so fat, I know I need to lose some weight, but I don’t have anything wrong me.
‘Have you seen what you look like?’ She pulled away at his coat and beckoned him to look at his reflection in the shop window.
‘I know I’m huge Molly, don’t rub it in.’ Tears began to form in his eyes. He couldn’t stand the humiliation anymore. Dejected he started to walk away, mortally wounded that Molly was making fun of him, just like everyone else did.
‘No Rob, you’re not. Let me help you through this.’
For the first time in years, Rob saw that he had become a ghostly skeleton of a man dressed in oversized clothes and wearing a large shroud that was in fact a big coat.
A few months later Molly held Rob’s hand when he found the courage to attend his first Eating Disorders Anonymous group.
Next year when December came around, Rob celebrated his new found confidence by getting engaged to Molly. When he heard the tune Ding Dong Merrily on High, it was as if he heard something he had never encountered before, it actually sounded quite pleasant.
‘Hey Molly, do you think we could have that as our wedding tune?’
‘Not bloody likely, now shut up and eat your cake.’
They were laughing so much that they both nearly choked on their Cappa Chocolate Cake.
COPYRIGHT: SJS 26.12.2016