Saturday, December 20, 2008

Powdered Innocence Lost

I was nurtured in a pleasant nirvana, nestled in the northern wilds, naive to the ways of the outside world. Such were the golden years of my childhood -- a sweet and gentle curly-haired frolic through a land of sharing and kindness.

Then one sunny summer day, our morning walk took us to that sandy land of the forbidden zone which separates truth from reality. I may have been four or nine, it matters not. The scar is old, it's actual age irrelevant.

Our mother and father had brought us there, sister and I, to the shores of a crystal lake lost in the rolling hills of heaven. We walked along the sparkling water, imbibing of nature's glory, soaking in the essence of life. It was our Eden.

Alas, just as Eve shifted eternity by asking if Adam wanted a bite, it was my own mother's inquiry which would shatter a similar illusion so many centuries later.

"Can I have a bite of your donut?"

There I stood in the sand of the beach, powdered donut in hand. Though but a tyke, I held the Excalibur of pastry in my tiny hand, perhaps the king of all powdered jellies. It was large and tender with a layer of powder that put Vail to shame as its heft heralded the promise of unthinkable succulance.

I looked at my donut as I mulled her request. I had but had only one bite of my bakery-made masterpiece -- a small nip, just enough to penetrate the pocket and offer insight into the inner wonders of its powdery awesomality. The sands shifted under my feet, though I didn't recognize then their movement as foreshadowing of what was about to be ... or not to be.

Certainly, I would share. She was my momma afterall, the White Queen, the one who birthed sister and I, the one who baked us eel (okay, that should have been a clue), the one who had coo'ed to us and kissed us. So, as I looked at her in love, with purity and joy in my heart, I handed her my donut ... with what would be the last truly innocent smile of my life.

As she bit my donut, my mother began to change. I had known her only as the White Queen to that point -- but in that moment, the icy winds of insight swirled around us and there before me stood the Wicked Witch of West Street.

As she bit my donut, my eyes like Adam's were opened, not to reveal nakedness (thankfully, as that would have been a whole different trauma likely landing us all on some horrible episode of Dr. Phil Meets Oprah), but rather to the cruel and sandy world you call Earth.

As she bit my donut, she bit on the side afar from my only bite. For decades, she'd claim it was it was an act of enlighted infection control, claims consistently debunked by scholars and mythbusters who have studied the legend.

As she bit my donut, she bit with zeal and angst and consumation -- but she bit short, failing to reach the jellilicious splendor and squashing the powdery pastry, causing all the fruitifabulous filling to spurt forth onto the sand out from the delicate evidence of my only bite.

Silence filled the land. Time stood still, a tear in its eye.

There in the sand, was jelly ... All the jelly ... All my jelly. My mother (the witch) held the empty husk of my donut, looked at me, and smiled. I looked at her. I looked at my jelly. And I cried.

The donut of all donuts was done. All its glory, all its sweetness, all its powdery potential power of good ... gone. In one fearsome fateful ferocious bite, the woman who brought me into the world changed my world.

Off I stomped to the cottage to fetch myself a replacement as "Oh, just go get another donut" was the cackled directive from my "mother" as she desperately tried to stuff herself back into her White Queen costume.

Certainly, there were other donuts to be had -- shriveled, dry, nasty, toady, wretched things that paled in comparison to The Donut Of The Lake.

They weren't the same. Nothing would likely ever be the same.

I stood alone at the crossroads of Despair Street and Optimism Avenue. I wiped the tears from my ruddy face and steeled my soul. In an admittedly heroic knight-errant moment, rather than reject the genre and hide away in shame and sadness, I commited my self to eat those horrible immitations -- to embrace a new quest with a powdery zest -- in hopes of one day recapturing the magnificence of that lost donut ... a choice which would ultimately lead me to the hallowed halls of DonutRun.

EPILOGUE: In the days and years that followed, the Wicked Witch of West Street never was able to recapture the illusion of the White Queen. Weep not for her, however, as there is justice and kindness in the world, even for witches. Her Fairy Granddaughters appeared and the old woman now lives out her days in joy, fulfiling her destiny as GrammaB ... but that doesn't mean I'll ever let the hag have another bite of my donut.

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