This character piece came from a writing prompt titled, “Breaking the Rules.” Each writer made a list of unspoken rules of social etiquette, then we read them around and wrote about one of them. I chose, “Don’t talk with your mouth full.”
Well, frankly, I don’t know what she sees in him, I really don’t. I mean, sure, he’s tall and handsome, I suppose, if you like big muscles. Personally, I find them unattractive. All those veins?! He does have good skin, but otherwise, I’m at a loss here, I really am.
I mean, he dresses in baggy shorts and oversized t-shirts; I’ve never seen him in anything but tennis shoes—high-tops, I think they call them—he rarely makes eye contact, and perhaps worst of all: he talks with his mouth full.
“Great lasagna, Andrea,” he said, with a globby first mouthful of a meat, cheese and noodle so huge, I was surprised to see that there was still some food left on his plate.
“As I told you before, dear,” I said, smiling at him, “all the kids call me, Auntie.”
“My bad,” he said, “Auntie.” And then he smiled a tomato sauce smile, and I cringed, I tell you, I cringed.
“I think he’s going to propose,” Sarah told me later, when we were alone together in the kitchen. I was wearing my red and white hibiscus muumuu and only rinsing dishes, but I was still sweating like a little piglet, I tell you, what with the summer storm building up outside the window, and now this awful news! My blood pressure skyrocketed, it really did.
“What makes you say that dear?” I asked, handing her a plate. She loaded the dishwasher beautifully: there’s an order to it, you know.
“Well,” she said dreamily, “we’ve been talking about it a lot lately. We both want a bunch of kids.”
In this mixed up world? I wanted to say, but I bit my tongue.
“Well, there’s no hurry, dear,” I said. “You’re only twenty-two—”
“You already had two babies when you were twenty-two!” she interrupted, giggling.
Precisely,I thought, and look at me now! Living on Henry’s pension—God rest his soul—and a great-great Auntie left and right. Oh, why are we so fertile in this family?
“Well,” I said, “keep me posted, dear,” and I winked at her. I wanted to say, Please use birth control. But I have never spoken to any of my nieces or nephews about sex, a rule I am reconsidering now, since they all seem to be popping out offspring like rabbits.
“Time for ice cream!” he said, his large frame filling the doorway.
“Grab a spoon, ” Sarah said. “You can get started on the Kona Coffee Crunch; Auntie and I prefer Coconut.”
“Okay,” he shrugged. And—would you believe it?—he grabbed a dirty spoon right out of the dishwasher, opened the freezer, popped of the top, and dug right into the pint. I kid you not!
“Mmmm,” he moaned, his mouth full of coffee cream. “It’s dericious.”
And I thought I would drop dead right then and there, I really did.