This week’s prompts are at the bottom. The work below is practice and practice makes perfect.
I met my sisters at the market in Cinco on the way to Mom and Dad’s. We were going to buy tons of food and surprise our parents with a 50th anniversary gala. My oldest sister, Doreen, had made all the arrangements. She’d invited me and my younger sister, Maggie with strict instructions to meet her at Hadley’s Market in Cinco. She’d invited all our surviving aunts and uncles and secured guarantees on their participation. All my parents’ friends and neighbors had been covertly contacted and invited as well. We planned to shop and arrive at the old homestead around four o’clock this afternoon. We wanted to take it easy tonight and spend tomorrow cooking for the party. We expected guests to begin arriving about this time on the day after tomorrow.
We expected maybe fifty people so we picked up enough ingredients to make at least twelve thousand tamales. We bought fixings for margaritas along with cases and cases of Dos Equis, Mom’s favourite beer. We filled up the back of Maggie’s truck with assorted selections of meats, chiles, queso, and masa. The beer filled the back of my SUV, and Doreen loaded the margarita ingredients and lots of fresh produce in the back of her Buick. We then caravanned to Mom and Dad’s. We parked behind Dad’s ’51 panel truck along the curb in front of the house, left all the stuff in our vehicles and made our way up the steps to the front door.
I opened the screen and turned the knob. The door was locked. I didn’t carry a key to my parent’s house. I turned to my sisters and shrugged my shoulders. Turns out neither of them had a key either, so I knocked. No response. I knocked again, louder this time – still no response. I pointed at the geranium in the terra cotta pot.
“They must not be home, see if there’s a key, Maggie.” I suggested.
She nodded her head and lifted the geranium pot, “Not here, Ruben,” she said, “you want me to go around and try the back door?”
Before I could answer, I heard the shuffle of Mom’s feet hurrying to the door.
“It’s OK,” I said, “here she comes. I hear her.” I heard the chain and the rattle of the knob. The door cracked open a little and Mom, herself, peeked out at us, hiding behind the door.
“Oh…” Mom said and she looked at me and then over my shoulder at my sisters, “what are you all doing here?”
“Surprise, Mom,” Doreen said to her. “We thought we’d make tamales for you and Dad. You know, for your anniversary.”
“Hmmm,” Mom looked puzzled and her eyes danced across the three of us. “I’m so happy to see you kids,” she said, “can you all come back in about…” she glanced over her shoulder, where I knew the clock sat on the mantle, “maybe seven or eight minutes?”
“Sure, Mom,” Maggie said, “but what’s up?”
“I’m trying to spend a little bit of, um, ‘husband and wife’ time with your father. I have to take advantage of these opportunities when I can, you know. Your dad’s not a kid anymore and, well… he can’t always rise to the occasion anymore either, but today looks like it could be a good day.”
“Course, Mom.” Doreen butted in, “We’ll just hang out. You go back in and do what you need to do.” She nodded at me and Maggie, “Let’s go guys.” She said.
We turned and moved off the porch. At the curb Maggie opened the back of her truck and I grabbed some cervezas from my Bronco. Sitting on the back of Maggie’s truck, we giggled and dangled our feet over the street and Maggie opened the bottles with the latch on her tailgate. She handed ‘em out, we clinked the bottle necks together and Doreen grinned at me. “This is what you get to look forward to Ruben.”
The girls both laughed, I grimaced, and Mom came out the front door. She was pulling her terrycloth robe tight around her. “Come on in kids,” Mom said as she beckoned us toward the house. She looked a little bit disappointed but not really disappointed in us.
“You OK, Mom?” Maggie asked.
“I’m fine, baby,” Mom answered, “Dad and I’ll try again later.” She hugged each of us in turn as we filed through the door and into the house.
We stood, awkwardly in the kitchen for a few minutes, nobody really knowing what to say. Finally I spoke up, “I’ll go unload the cars.” Dad was coming down the stairs as I walked towards the door. We waved at one another, but didn’t speak. His mouth was set. Terse.
This weeks prompts are:
- It’s mostly true
- we don’t make sense together
Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need.