Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Stew Story

 My mother wanted to throw a party. It was my last night in California and she wanted to celebrate.
“No no no no, No! I don’t want a party!” I barked.
“Well, you better start makin’ phone calls,” she came back. “I’ve made food for a hundred.”
            “A hundred? Jesus-Christ, mom! Why? I don’t want to see a hundred people. I don’t even like a hundred people.”
            “Just call—the food’ll be done soon.”
Defeated, I exasperatedly plucked up my phone. “I’ll make five calls,” I thought. “That’ll show her a hundred.” 
The party arrived. The table was set for a hundred, but we were just a few: the Wanes, my father, my mother, Devin, Sarah, three of my high-school acquaintances, and me. Reaching over settings, we passed the food and filled the bowls, but nobody spoke. I scowled at my stew.
            The silence finally broke when my high-school acquaintances, one by one, scooted their chairs to leave. The Wanes followed suit.
My parents stood and my eyes desperately jumped as they quietly excused themselves to the adjoining room. They’d previously replaced all the furniture from the den with their bed. Shutting the sliding door, they left a gesture of a curtain between us. Had we been talking, they would have heard every word.
            Alone in the room! I shifted my focus back to the table. “Where'd Devin go?” I barked, confused.
“He’s left,” Sarah said, uttering her first two words of the evening. “I must be going too,” she threw out as she exited.
           I turned back to the table. I sat there in the yellow lit evening, my parents in the other room. The overhead light buzzed faintly as the food cooled.

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