I’m in the baking ingredients aisle looking for unbleached quinoa flour when I see it: a box of Funfetti cake mix. Ugh, what a sugar bomb. I’m already moving on when I swear the Pillsbury Doughboy makes eye contact with me as if it’s the Mona Lisa, saying, Leave without me: I fucking dare you.

So you know what? I’m throwing the box in the cart. Screw the sugar-free quinoa flour energy bars I was going to make, because fuck it, I’m making a Funfetti cake.

I’m also throwing in a tub of Funfetti frosting, the one with the sprinkles in the lid. And fuck it one more time, because I’m getting another frosting tub to eat with my index finger while scrolling through my high school bully’s before-and-after-Herbalife belly photos.

Is it my birthday? No.

Is it anyone’s birthday? Also no.

Is it any special occasion at all? Hell no.

You see, the Funfetti cake is the special occasion. I’m an adult. I can do what I want. I need a break from Zoom meetings and “circling back” and re-submitting receipts for my dental X-rays to BlueCross. I need a big-ass slice of perfectly moist vanilla cake with rainbow sprinkles inside slathered with vanilla frosting and covered in more sprinkles, washed down with Hawaiian Punch.

I’m tossing a jug of Hawaiian Punch in my cart. Does anyone actually ever buy Hawaiian Punch? It always just appeared—poof, like magic—in little Dixie cups during birthday parties at Chuck E. Cheese. I wonder how it tastes with vodka.

I’m back home now, busting out my nine-by-thirteen-inch pan that I’ve only ever used to make quiche and homemade walnut-meal keto granola bars. What even is walnut meal? I’m breaking out the stainless steel mixing bowl I’ve only ever used to toss chopped carrots and brussels sprouts lightly with olive oil before roasting in the oven for forty minutes at four-hundred degrees. Why have I wasted so much time eating vegetables? And flaxseed? What even is flaxseed? Give me some ultra-processed, teeth-rotting cake that bursts like sunshine and rainbows in my mouth.

Here we go: I’m dumping the cake mix in the bowl, and oh my god, that cloud of sugary-flour-powder hits me right in the childhood, when Mom made me a Funfetti cake for my birthday party at the Sky Zone trampoline park with the entire class, and I blew out the candles while my parents took pictures and cheered together, at least before they got divorced. And some kid, usually Trent, would puke Funfetti cake all over the floor.

I’m cracking two eggs. Pouring in half a cup of oil, and half a cup of water. This is the easiest recipe ever. Not like those thirty-seven-step high-fiber sweet potato muffins I made a week ago from Gracie’s Gluten-Free Paleo Plant Life baking blog or whatever it’s called.

I’m stirring out the lumps. Spraying the pan. Pouring in the batter. Licking the spoon. Who cares if I get salmonella? I don’t even think that’s a thing. My mom probably made it up because she wanted to lick the Funfetti cake batter spoon to take herself back to childhood and escape the crushing, rainbow-sprinkle-free responsibilities of adulthood like—just like I’m doing now.

The cake is baking in the oven now. I have thirty-four to thirty-eight minutes—maybe I’ll get a jump-start on the dishes. No, even better—I’ll watch The Emperor’s New Groove. Perfect.

Now that it’s cooled down, I’m frosting that Funfetti sheet cake like nobody’s business, then showering it with sprinkles. It looks amazing. I need to take a pic for Insta—wait, no, that would ruin it. I didn’t post pictures of my Funfetti cake growing up, did I? One does not take photos of Funfetti cake, except in one’s memories.

Forget the organic arugula salad mix wilting in the back of the fridge and the tilapia I was going to steam for dinner, because I’m cutting myself a big-ass square slice of cake and shoving it down my Funfetti hole. Who says what I should and shouldn’t eat? Fuck it, I’m having another slice. Why did I ever stop? “Funfetti.” It’s in the name itself. When did I grow up and stop eating Funfetti cake? When did I stop having fun?

Fuck, I ate the whole thing.

And now I’m going to puke.

But in a good way. A nostalgic way. Just like Trent at my birthday party. I haven’t talked to him in a while. Last I heard, he became an accountant for Pillsbury.