I am sitting at the kitchen table watching L. Tomorrow one of her best friends is 15. L has made a chocolate birthday cake as well as some delicious brownies. She planned it all really carefully selecting recipes she has made alone or with me since she was seven. We laughed last night at her seven year old writing in the recipe book when she first made one of the cakes. She is icing the cake, occasionally licking a finger.
Is this the illness, driving her to bake for others, so they can eat while she resists, strengthening her control? Or is this just L, doing what she’s always done, caring for others, showing that she loves them? I think it’s both, possibly an example of when L and her illness co exist peacefully. She has icing sugar on her nose and a few weeks ago, I could just about have convinced myself that everything was ok and normal. I wonder if I should stop her, tell her that unless she can eat a cake, she can’t make one. I think that would be cruel. And perhaps a crumb will fall into her mouth, maybe she will have a tiny taste and just remind herself of that time when she made cake and ate it.
The cake is now iced. She is cleaning up after herself, as she always does and packing a bag with candles and party whistles for school tomorrow. Between the despair and the joy, there is sometimes normality, when a 14 year old girl plans a surprise for her friend and life feels like it was before.