Three cupcakes with pink and green icing


Cupcake Mission

by Jane Ricot

Competition theme: 'Perspective'

Ivy went rather cold the day she found out she was going to be the mother of a bride.

When she’d turned 60 last year, Ivy realised that she could no longer wear trousers with a zip and button.  So, it was with some relief, that she stopped trying to be a slave to style and just became herself. 

This latest news, therefore, was received with a mixture of both happiness and anxiety.  She was incredibly pleased and, not to say relieved, that her daughter was eventually to walk down the aisle with a very pleasant man, but was filled with consternation that, she too, would be rather on show herself.

She’d already started the dialogue in her head.

          “Look at the state of her.”

“How could she possibly have had a daughter who looks like that?”

So for the time being, the tea cakes stopped, well technically slowed down, as did the bacon baps and midnight snacks.  All the while she pushed the upcoming event ever so slightly to one side.

That is, until the day she finally donned her olive green, mother of the bride dress, for real.  Over the preceding weeks, she had closed her eyes when standing in front of shop mirrors and relied on the obsequious comments from the various assistants, desperate for their sale. 

So, in retrospect, today was probably the very worst day, to actually stare at herself long and hard in a mirror, for the first time in decades.  Reflected before her, she surmised, was an image of the big green canvas tent she’d slept in on school trips, with her 60 year old head poking out of the top.  This, she thought, was not going to go well.

“Mum, you look beautiful,” her genuinely stunning, only daughter had said when she saw her.  Ivy marvelled at the fact that nothing on her daughter’s face belied what she must have actually been thinking. 

At this very moment, she wished that her gregarious, deeply missed husband was still with them as this momentous day began.  People had been drawn to him whatever he said or did.  He didn’t have to try at all, so Ivy had always been able to simply fade away into the wallpaper.

Stage one of the day, along with the initial stares and service, were thankfully soon over and the reception was now well on its way.  The big extravagant room was filled with perfume and Prosecco. 

Ivy momentarily sat herself down at the side of the room and observed.   She stared enviously at Sylvie, mother of the groom.  She was tall and svelte in her cream linen suit and glided around like an elegant gazelle.

“Why do you look so sad?” a tiny voice beside her asked.

Ivy turned and saw a pocket sized girl, with an abundance of curls, all done up in ruffs and puffs.

Ivy smiled

“I’m not sad, sweetheart,” she said kindly, “I’m just very tired.”

“No you’re not,” the girl retorted, “you’re sad, I can tell.”

Ivy didn’t know this child, but the child certainly seemed to know her.

“Do you know what,” Ivy began, “you’re right, I am sad.  Everyone here today is so beautiful, except me.  I wish I had a fairy godmother to make me feel better.” 

Ivy was astounded to find herself confiding her intimate thoughts to this little person.

“But why don’t you think you’re beautiful?” she enquired.

“See that lady over there …..”

“The tall, pointed lady,” the girl interrupted, indicating Sylvie.

“Err yes, her, well she is very beautiful, but I overheard her earlier, saying that I look a disgrace.  Sadly, I fear she’s right.”

Ivy felt just a tad disconcerted as the little girl’s eyes bore into her as she considered what Ivy had just said.  Her eyes were so dark and shiny, they reminded Ivy of the tablespoons of black treacle she only ever used once a year at Christmas.

At that very moment, trays laden with cakes, held at shoulder height, rushed passed them.

          “Hey …..!” the little girl shouted. 

A waiter stopped and looked down at the demanding voice. 

“Could I have a cupcake please?” 

The waiter placed one in her tiny bird like hand.

She grinned at Ivy. 

“Where’s that mean lady sitting?” 

Ivy pointed over to the empty chair beside her son-in-law.

A loud hammering interrupted their conversation.  A rather obnoxious man, in a bright red jacket, who had been guiding the guests, in a rather bored manner, through the events of the afternoon, announced that the speeches were about to begin.

As the guests all duly returned to their seats for the dreaded round of tales that should never be told, a scream of horror caused everyone to stop, turn and look as Sylvie leapt from her seat, with the creamiest of chocolate cupcakes firmly adhered to her white trousered bottom.

Ivy’s stomach somersaulted with pleasure.  She looked around for the person she knew to be the perpetrator and met the little girl’s wicked smile.  She came running over to Ivy and, as she hugged her, whispered in her ear. 

“You know you are a very beautiful person.”

In that moment, Ivy felt an aura of confidence that she hadn’t felt for many years. 

She stood, glowing, ready to take her place on the top table and, amidst the roars of laughter, Ivy turned to thank her own miniature fairy godmother but, who now, was nowhere to be seen.