The cake tree had seen many generations come and go, had seen the city grow, as the tree itself had grown. The tree stood, imperious and beautiful, icing sugar dripping from glistening branches.
The cake tree belonged to itself, but was sold by East City Council as spectacle. Machines churned up the earth, the roots were covered with concrete. The Council placed lights in the ground at four points, showcasing its best features. A fence was erected, boxing it in. Many came to see the tree, to marvel and to eat. Sugared stars sparkled on the highest branches, guiding travellers to the East City, beckoning kings and princes rich in gold and jewels; currency to be spent within the East City gates. The cake tree belonged to itself, but was sold as spectacle.
A local girl by the name of Edissa had been climbing the tree since she was three years old. She ignored the fence and the gawping travellers. A ‘No Trespassing’ sign was erected, barbed wire wrapped round the top of the fence. She paid no heed - “I am not trespassing. The tree belongs to no one” - her body a permanent site for scratches and bruises as she climbed the fence to collect cakes from the tree.
She knew the tree like she knew the body of Memucan, a local boy of such beauty that people could not bear to be near him. “My beauty is a deformity,” he said, rubbing mud and twigs into his face. Edissa brushed his protest aside, feeling the mud slither beneath her fingers.
“I see beneath your skin,” she said. “I can reach in and feel your heart, your lungs, your guts.” Nestled in the tree, she leaned back and gathered icing sugar on her tongue before kissing him, passing back and forth the sweet elixir. Her hand was around his neck, feeling his throat undulate as he swallowed. She knew the tree like she knew the body of Memucan.