Cake from Strangers

cupcake-fall1Last Saturday, I was waiting for midnight so I could be the first to call my mom and wish her a “Happy Birthday”. I got up to use the bathroom for a minute, and by the time I came back, I had a new voice mail.

“Oh, my god, Stephie! Don’t be dead! ” I jerked the phone from my ear as I heard the screams of an irate Hungarian. “Your cousin said she hasn’t heard from you and she tried to call you two times. Oh, my god! Novon knows vere you are! Call me back if you’re alive. Call me back!”

I called her immediately. “Vhat’s da story, Stephie?! How can you do this to me?” she cried.

“What the heck are you talking about? I just talked to Irina a few days ago, and I just finished talking to her sister last night!”

“Bullsh*t. Irina said she tried to call you Thursday. I vanted to make plans for next veek, and den ve didn’t hear from you, and she said she didn’t know vere you vere and-”

“Anyu. I was hosting a film event all day Thursday. My phone was totally off. If she didn’t leave a message, I probably didn’t even see the missed call.”

“She said she paged you.”

“Paging doesn’t exist anymore.”

“No, no, she said dah message said ‘Press 2 to Page Stephie,’ so she did. Doesn’t dat mean your phone turns on and tells you dat Irina is paging you?”

“Oh, then, actually, it sends a text message, and when a phone is off it-”

“You forgot my burstday.”

“It’s not midnight yet! I was going to call you in 10 minutes! You and I have the same freaking birth date, how can I forget it?”

“You didn’t tink of me.”

“Anyu, listen, I don’t understand why you always-”

“Give me your friends’ numbers so I can call dem if I cannot find you. I don’t know dah kind of people you are hanging out with dese days.”

“In a few minutes, I will be 27 years old. Not 17. Not 7. It’s inappropriate for you to call ‘all my friends’. Besides, what the hell, Anyu – you didn’t even bother to call me to see if I’m alive! You just assumed I was dead?”

“I called you five minutes ago.”

“But by the message, it implied that you thought I was dead since Thursday, so if you really thought something was wrong why did you wait until the middle of the weekend to call me? I’d already be rotted.”

“Don’t say dese terrible tings. Vhat did your friend’s buy you for your burstday?”

“I don’t know, I haven’t seen anyone, I’ve been WORKING, remember?”

“Your asshole fodder didn’t call you, did he?”


“If he shows up to your door and says he has presents, don’t answer. He vill try to take you!”

“MOM, I am a 27-year old hulk of a woman! I don’t think some 60-something-year old man is going to ‘take me’. DAAAAAH! Stop being so paranoid!”

“I’m not vanting to bother you, I just vant you to check in vonce in a vhile. I only half von child.”

“I ‘check in’ all the time! You know what you need to do…Stop assuming I’m dead. If I am not answering my phone, I”m probably hosting an event, attending an event, or on the freaking toilet.”

”Don’t drop the phone in the toilet, Stephie, you’ll get electrocuted.”

“AAAH! I don’t want to argue with you, I just wanted to wish you a happy freaking birthday! So HAPPY FREAKIN’ BIRTHDAY!”

“Did your fodder send you a card?”


“You’d tell me if he did, vouldn’t you?”


“Yes, yes, Happy Burstday, Stephie.”

“Happy Birthday, Anyu. Okay, I actually have to go, I need to wake up early tomorrow. I have an event I need to attend.”

“On your burstday?”

“Yes. On my burstday. We’ll celebrate with cake next Saturday at Bible Camp like we planned.”

“Okay. Don’t take cake from strangers.”

“Okay, Anyu, I promise. I won’t.”

Photo by Michael Lorenzo