A steamy summer day, but there’s a chill as I open the door. Mom’s arrived with brownies.
“Here you go,” she says.
“Yum!” Former fat girl error. I should’ve greeted her first.
Mom’s frosty. “This is your Grandmother’s platter, you know.” The village pictured on the china is snow-covered.
“They’re all for you. Your father has had enough. The nuts get under his dentures.”
I reach for the plate so Mom can take her shoes off. There’s new hardwood down the hall into my renovated kitchen. Invited her for coffee now that everything’s finished.
She’s gripping the platter tightly.
“Last time I brought it with peanut butter cookies, you ate everything and kept the plate.”
Doubt that. I don’t recognise the china, just the grip. From when I was a chubby ten-year-old, and I’d want seconds. Mom’s squeeze—a sharp pinch if I asked twice or got pouty—was to save me the public embarrassment of her pointing out my weight. So she’d tell me.
“I’ll put the brownies on something else.”
Mom won’t let it go. I’ve tried to let go.
“I mean I’ll give you back the plate.” I’m staring with the same blue eyes she has, speaking slowly.
So is she: we sound alike. “This is the last platter in the old service, so take care of it. Use both hands.”
A blow of complaints pushes me down the hall; her bare feet are ice cubes, the new flooring is slippery, the air conditioning freezing. I must be menopausal not to mind it.
The brownies, the platter, Mom, and I arrive in my new kitchen. I love it.
“Well, your Grandmother’s antique china doesn’t belong anymore,” Mom says as dry as the brownies. “Everything’s so shiny and white. If you cooked more, it’d hurt your eyes.”
Karen writes short fiction and flash in Ontario Canada. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in online magazines and anthologies including Spillwords, Reflex Fiction, Commuterlit, Funny Pearls, Sunspot Lit, and Blank Spaces. People say Karen is fun and frustrating, and her chicken lasagna is pretty good.