"It was, I think, her favorite expression: "You've got the wrong number!" That, along with, "And how!" and "You don't say!" are what I most remember about Auntie Winifred's wide repertoire of crisp, automatic responses. Not that she wasn't truly interested in whatever had been said to prompt such a familiar reaction, but with so many of us constantly bleating for her attention, or asking for her support with some half-baked allegation made against one of the others, a noncommittal platitude probably seemed the best way to agree or disagree with the plaintiff, and yet at the same time do so without causing offense to anyone."
Cupcakes is a short story by Daniel Kelley.
Frances (better known as Froggie) is six when the story begins. She and her brother, Zander, and their two cousins, Billy and Melissa- nicknamed Iggy and Shoeless- spend most of their time playing together in their Auntie Winifred's bakery. She adores the children and is more of a parent to them than their own. She has appointed them official Cupcakes.
When they ask why they're Cupcakes, she always has a vague, ambiguous answer. They may not know where the title came from, but they like it nonetheless, and wear it with pride. They are the Cupcakes, and the apartment above the bakery is their clubhouse.
Told in a reminiscent way, we watch as the children grow older, grow up and experience all the things that come with it.
Seeped in nostalgia, like a delightfully moist sticky toffee pudding that Auntie Winifred no doubt served, the sweetness of the haze of childhood, is in perfect balance with the luscious treats they play around.
This is a story about being young, along with the inevitable growing up. We all know that growing up is hard to do. The characters slowly realise the facts of real life, and how precious their relationships with each other are. Frances begins to notice their individual roles in the group, and the changing dynamics as they age and become the people they're shaping into.
With the hardships and realities of life, the rose-tinted, carefree days of youth cannot last forever, other than in our memories. This is a story that anyone can relate to. We were all young once, we all went though our awkward phases, our in-between years of learning responsibility, to actually accepting it.
A great short story. If the nostalgia doesn't get you, the writing will.
Disclaimer: I received this book from the author. This is not a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% my own.