Refuge by Rebecca Wickens

I am baking a refuge for you and for me.

The foundation is sweet butter, white flour, brown sugar, fresh eggs with golden centres, baking powder, spicy cinnamon and sea salt.

I pour and smooth the foundation into the pan with my spatula. In the oven’s heat, the batter will rise into a foamy cushion on which we will rest.

Next, I stack thinly sliced apples to form walls. Glistening with tart-sweet juices, they will be translucent enough to let the light in but sturdy enough to keep the storms out. 

Then I pat the roof firmly into place, feeling the cool crumbs made of butter, oats, flour, sugar and cinnamon beneath my palms. I tuck each apple under this crumbly blanket where they will soften and sweeten with time and warmth.

I slide the pan into the oven and close the door. We read books to pass the time. The spicy-sweet smell filling the air transports us to a place of comfort and safety, where a cake, a book and a quiet moment with a loved one is enough to revive a weary body and soul.

When the cake is baked and cooled, we dive in with eager forks, filling our mouths and tummies. We know but do not say out loud that this is just a rest stop in a long trip through a rocky landscape. We enjoy this respite in smiling silence, gathering the strength for the next leg of our journey.

Rebecca Wickens is a corporate governance professional and mother of two young children, based in Elmira, Ontario. After a series of major professional and personal life changes over the past few years, Rebecca is seeking to (re)discover who she is and where she wants to go in life. Writing fiction and creative non-fiction is one of the tools in this journey.