“Do you know the Muffin Man?”

Picture this: The year is 2004. Smartphones aren’t a thing, and Tamagotchis are what all the cool kids want.

I was in grade 6, shy and always awkward, a total teacher’s pet without even meaning to be. Teachers just loved me, couldn’t help it. In years to come, I’d realise this is a contender for the best year of my life. But at the time, every day was a challenge, making sure I didn’t embarrass myself. So many stories I could tell. But the one of focus today is a good’un. 

Buckle up, and prepare, for the dramas of an eleven-year-old. 

It was nearing the end of term, and my teacher, Ms. E, wanted us to have some fun, I guess. So she gave us a recipe for banana and cinnamon muffins. “Make them, and bring them to class, and we’ll have a muffin feast!” she said. SO fun, right?

I was pumped. Couldn’t wait. Went home, told my mum, she wasn’t as psyched as I was. Whatevs. I wasn’t going to let anyone spoil this for me. Muffin feast! I took out the recipe page, and started hunting around for the ingredients. 

And then everything went wrong…

We had NONE of the ingredients! This is, I believe, where my now constant state of anxiety originated.

Ms. E was planning a muffin feast! Everyone was going to make the muffins! I was going to ruin the whole party! The stress was warranted. This was the worst thing to ever happen in the history of the world. Counting famine and murder.

What can I say? I was a dramatic kid.

Anyway, after fretting over the fact that we had no bananas – made even funnier because my dad owned a fruit market – and no cinnamon, mum came to the rescue, picked up my melted essence off the floor. She told me to just make one of the boxed muffin mixes we already had. I refused, and proceeded to melt into the tiles again. I think she was fed up with me, by now. I’m fed up with me, remembering it. So she said to just make the banana cinnamon recipe with whatever ingredients we had. That is the flour, eggs, and brown sugar.

After stressing a bit more, I did make them. 

And they came out looking divine. All golden, and warm, and fluffy.

And then we tasted them – my brother, and I.

And the stresses came back.

They tasted so disgusting; I couldn’t swallow even a bite. And I always finish my food. I still don’t know what made them so horrible. Just that they were Devil muffins.

They had to be discarded. It was so very sad. Almost funeral-like.

“Here lie my muffins, and with them, my dreams.”

After that, mum practically forced me to make a boxed muffin mix, and I relented, because different muffins would be better than no muffins. I chose to make triple choc-chip ones, with milk & white chocolate chips. We had the ingredients for those. And they came out looking delicious. And tasting delicious. Most importantly.

Of course, I was still stressed at the fact that I’d be the only different person in class. Basically social suicide, these choc-chip muffins were. Everyone was going to crucify me.

I wasn’t wrong.

Everyone else’s muffins were cream coloured. Mine were black, and no less than ten people said some variation of:

“Oh my god, your muffins are burnt!”

It was mortifying in the beginning. I said, meek as a mouse, “it’s a different recipe.”

But by the tenth person, I cried, rather exasperated, eyes rolling, “THEY’RE DIFFERENT MUFFINS!” But less intense.

Anyway, Ms. E’s feast idea was to mix everyone’s muffins up, and then put everyone in groups, with a tray of muffins in the middle of the table, and cups of Milo for everyone. And then she told us to gorge ourselves. Honestly, thinking back, it was a weird thing to do. How many muffins was she expecting us to eat?!

I was on a table with four boys and three girls, one of whom was one of my best girlfriends. She was hyping me up to no end. “Oh, your muffins are the best!” She wasn’t lying, though, let’s be real. It’ll be a cold day in hell before a banana muffin beats a chocolate one. And her sentiment was reflected around the table. It was my shining glory. Nothing could make it better. Then one of the boys on my table was asking another boy to get him a muffin. The other boy pointed to one of mine, but the first boy shook his head. He didn’t want my muffin.

This was the saddest thing to ever happen. Counting sick puppies and dying trees.

But then the boy saw that I was eating one of his muffins, and he smiled, and told the other boy to get him one of mine. My heart rejoiced.

And that’s when I fell in love.

I wish I was joking, but my heart actually was that easily won.

Sadly, the year was coming to an end, and we didn’t have any classes with one another the next year, so our love, which was obviously true, never eventuated.

But in that moment, with his smile, and my chocolate chip muffins taking over the classroom, the sun was shining, and all was grand. Even Ms. E scolding me for making a different recipe couldn’t dampen my spirits. I was elevated.

I wasn’t the Muffin Man. I was the Muffin Queen.

Queen of the Muffins.

And it felt, O, so good.

Moral of the story: if you don’t have the ingredients for one recipe, just make a different one. You may be surprised where it’ll lead.

Tell me about a time an assignment didn’t work out, and the world felt like it was falling to pieces.

Ciao 4 Now.

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