Elaine Martini
Elaine Martini 

Lemon drizzle


“Mum, I promise I'll pay attention to the taste of every food that goes in my mouth from now on,” Amy said as she picked up the spoon her mum gave her.


“I'm so happy you are getting better honey,” she said stroking her daughter's hair.


“I missed tasting things so much. I missed smelling too but eating cake was not the same when I couldn't taste it” Amy said, as she licked the cake batter from the spoon with a trance like a stare.


Susan smiled looking at her daughter. She had never seen her eating and appreciating something so much.


It had been a difficult few weeks with them all being ill. The isolation and the uncertainty of how ill they would get. She felt so lucky they only had mild symptoms and recovered quickly. Amy was the only one that lost her sense of taste. She was grateful that was the only symptom her little girl had. Her husband was the worst affected. Cough, fever and shortness of breath. One night she thought she would have to take him to hospital. Just remembering that night still made her nervous, sad and anxious. She couldn't explain the exact feeling. Probably the best way to describe it would be to say how powerless it all made her feel. She didn't remember ever feeling that way before.


“I miss Nan so much. I can't wait to see her” Amy said as she puts the spoon in the sink.


“I miss her too, but you know we will only drop off the cake and wave from outside the window,” her Mum said whilst she started to do the washing up.


“Do you think our cake will be as good as Nan's? Lemon Drizzle cake is Nan's favourite!”


“It's your Nan's recipe, I'm sure it will be a lovely cake,” her Mum said.


“Nan will be so happy to see us. I Iove a surprise!” she said jumping up and giggling.


Baking with her mum has become one of her favourite things to do. She loved helping with the ingredients, mixing and watching cakes grow when they were in the oven. The smell would fill the house for a long time after. She was happy having this time with her mum. They felt so much closer to each other.


Amy was looking forward to this cake more than any other. She had her sense of taste back. It was funny how before all this she never paid much attention to how things tasted. She knew she liked chocolate, oranges and sweetcorn more than cauliflower or peas. But she didn't really know why. She never really thought about that. Lemons popped in her head. She realised she loved lemon drizzle cake, particularly her Nan's one, but she didn't like the taste of lemons on its own.


“Mum, could we make a lemonade with the rest of the lemons?”


“We could honey, but you never liked lemonade,” her Mum said surprised by what her daughter was asking.


“Well mum, I never really paid attention to the taste of lemons. I would like to try them again. I think I would like to try everything that I didn't like again. And everything I liked too” she said with a thoughtful look in her eye.


“Ok darling, I hope you don't mean it all at once” They looked at each other laughing and giggling at the idea.


Amy went to play in the garden. It was a beautiful hot day. Her Mum brought over the lemonade and put it on the outside table. Amy poured a little bit in the plastic cup and sniffed it before she drunk a little bit of it. As she tasted the lemonade again she closed her eyes. First, she thought it was very sour like she remembered it before. This time she decided not to make a decision straight away that she didn't like it. She waited and noticed it felt very refreshing too. She was feeling a little sweaty and it seemed the lemonade was helping her to cool down.


“Amy? Well, what do you think?”


“Hmmm, it's strong and bitter at first, but then it's not. I'm going to drink a bit more”.


She sipped a little more of the lemonade and this time the acidity wasn't so overpowering anymore. She was starting to kind of like it. It was like when her dad played rock music to her for the first time. First, she really didn't like it, it was so loud. But it was her dad's favourite type of music. He insisted for her to listen to it again. She listened a few more times. It didn't take long for her to be dancing around the living room with him. It was so much fun.


“Amy. The cake is ready. Please get changed so we can go to your Nan's. I don't want to be late” she said whilst rushing around.


“Ok mum, I'll put on my flowery dress. Nan loves that one. I'm lucky it still fits me. Especially with me growing so much” Amy said whilst she ran upstairs.


Susan smiled and thought how much that was true. She wasn't a little girl anymore. But even for a little girl, Amy had so much to teach her, every day. Today was no different.


She took a long deep breath and decided to also vow to not take anything for granted. That was even more important with the little things, like taste, smell, breathing...


Susan and Amy got in the car to take the cake. It was nearly a month from the last time they saw Nan. Amy was filled with excitement holding the cake with a card she made for her Nan.


They parked, Amy walked to her Nan's door with a skip and then knocked on the door. They knew Nan would be watching TV in the living room at this time. She liked her routine and since the pandemic started she was only at home all the time. Nan looks out of the window. A tear rolls down her face when she sees her daughter and granddaughter holding a cake and a card saying “We miss you and love you so much”.


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© Elaine Martini