Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Let them eat cake

Laval, QC
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I am obsessed with remembering the trivial. If I've read an article online, I need to save the reference in case I want to read it again later. If I've visited the beach, I need a pinch of sand in my trunk to remind me I was there. And if I've eaten something, I often need to take a picture of it. I can't explain why. It just is.

If food is the fuel of our lives, then food photography is, to me, the story of our lives. Or a key part of it. Food has been a point of connection for me and my wife since we met. We shop for groceries together. I hang out in the kitchen while she turns them into virtuoso creations. We debrief over meals. She laughs at me as I try - and fail - to remember where it all goes when we're done.

This seemingly simple chocolate cake pic is symbolic of a week I'd rather forget. We've been back and forth to Montreal too many times to count of late. While my father-in-law continues to struggle with his health, Debbie struggles to do everything she can for a father she's doted over for as long as I've known her. There are no black-and-white answers. Aging is never easy, and it's infinitely worse when your health fails you and you can't get it back no matter how hard you try. Or wish.

Travel far from home means grabbing meals wherever you can, whenever you can find the time. As we have every time we've returned here, we spent much of the week bouncing between a drab hospital and an apartment with barely-functional plumbing.

Which is how I ended up taking this photo, a singular attempt to find some sense of sweetness amid a chapter that offered precious little of it. It took me three-ish minutes to eat, amid a discussion that lasted another 10 minutes before we had to leave, again, for the hospital. Yet through a lens, I managed to freeze that sliver of time when a slice of cake represented the best thing in our lives, if only for a fleeting moment.

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