When I was 18, I got into a fight with my boyfriend, one of those fights where I was entirely out of line. I left his apartment for a while and drove around our college town, trying to remember how you apologized to someone. I went to the grocery store and made my way to the bakery, picking out a cake with flowers on it, the kind you fight over with other kids at birthday parties when you’re little. I pointed it out to the woman behind the counter.
“Do you want to say something on it?” she asked.
“Yeah,” I replied. “Can you put ‘Sorry for being a cunt’ on it?”
“No, no, I cannot,” she huffed at me.
We were in a standoff. I can only imagine what she thought of a teenage girl putting such a word in buttercream icing. She stood strong and I didn’t back down. She called her manager over, a younger woman who started laughing when she heard what the problem was. She tried to convince her employee to write my message in buttercream and then she tried to compromise with me.
“Maybe ‘sorry for being a bitch’?” she said.
“No, it was worse than that, I was a total cunt,” I said.
“I won’t write bitch either,” said the employee, arms crossed.
Finally, the manager grabbed the icing herself and wrote my message on it. I paid for it and took it to my then boyfriend’s apartment. I knocked and held it out to him. He read it and read it again and looked from my face to the cake and back again a few times. I shrugged and he let me inside, setting the cake on the kitchen table. We sat and ate it together, forgetting why we had been so upset. He ate the part that said “cunt” on it and I got the flower.
I don’t remember how to make friends, if I ever did at all.