Virginia Woolf’s cake recipe

The woman in her kitchen is up to her elbows in cake recipe; flour, sugar and butter. A dash of her own ingredients. In 45 minutes at gas mark six the deed will be done. She looks at the clock, the hands are at noon. She shudders to re-invent herself through hypnosis (whilst waiting for her lemon cake to rise). She dreams of others. She dreams of overseas. She’s stepping into the sea, now.

The taste of sea salt replaces the spooned cake mixture on her tongue. The ragweed that was once caught in fishermans’ nets is now a belt for her waist. She wonders if there are esoteric messages buried in her DNA.

She counts to ten as her fingers explore her belly. At the count of eight, she remembers she’s left the oven on. Until that moment, she didn’t know she had the strength to abandon her few precious items (her diary, her wallet, her cracked looking glass) to the house now minus its owner. She’s in waves over her head. She realises she’s possibly made a terrible error because her legs are a tail, her waist is covered in scales, and at 12.45PM her cake will be ready. She will have followed Virginia’s recipe.

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