I answered the knock at the door. It was the little girl who lives a few houses down the street. She is about nine, ever so slightly chubby, and pretty – a dishwater blonde with light mocha skin and hazel eyes that belied a hint of nervousness on this occasion. She lifted the contents of each hand towards me – a plastic lavender tackle box-style of purse in one, and a shallow box of muffins in the other. “Would you like to buy some cupcakes?” she asked in a lackluster voice.
“Oh, they’re cupcakes,” I mentally corrected myself. Very browned cupcakes. I took note of the fact that the little saleswoman apparently subscribes to my own cupcake philosophy; i.e., a naked cupcake is a better cupcake. Frosting is superfluous. I also noticed the cupcake liners were a Christmas theme.
I remembered the last time she knocked on our door trying to sell something – a well-worn backpack. I turned down that offer. This time I turned to go grab some change, and instantly two sides of an internal dialogue grabbed for my allegiance. The Pollyanna side argued that she is a budding entrepreneur. “Someday she will eat steak and ice cream three times a day!” it chirped. The Roseanne side proffered that someone had sent her out to hock a few cupcakes and raise a little cash. “Don’t you get it?” it bleated. “Last month – backpacks; today – cupcakes. What will it be next week? Toothbrushes?” I ignored Roseanne and headed for my purse.
I returned with the change and selected my cupcake. It felt like the proverbial rock, which is the same way my heart was beginning to feel. I wondered if I should buy more or leave her with more to sell to other neighbors. Was she at my door because she wanted to be or because someone else wanted her to be?
I closed the door and considered my 50 cent purchase. I hoped someone might recommend frosting them next time. Even though it’s not my preference it would probably help her sell more. My husband, who was watching football in the family room, asked who was at the door. I told him the story and plopped the cupcake into his hand. (Was it my imagination, or did it land with a thud?) He tried to break off a bite, but it crumbled between his fingers. Cornbread. My favorite. I regretted not buying more, but my palate was not the reason.