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The prompt this week is …spaghetti… + up to 1,000 words
Spaghetti and Tomato Sauce
Lois packed an overnight bag. She hadn’t been away from little Ryan since his birth almost 18 months earlier. There was no alternative; she had to go. One last check: cosmetics, extra socks, a change of clothes, toothbrush. Everything else she’d borrow from her mother. She took a deep breath, zipped and carted the bag to the front door where she dropped it.
“Parker, I’ve loaded the dishwasher and set the timer.” Hands on narrow hips, she glared at the newspaper concealing her husband in the living-room. “Parker!”
The rustle of paper shuffling broke the tense silence. “You say something?” He lowered the paper to reveal watery blue eyes, one eye engrossed in the print and the other flickered in her direction.
“I know neither of us is happy with this situation, but I have to go.”
“Why can’t one of your lady friends look after Ryan?” The paper rose by millimeters creating a wall again.
Lois marched to the Easy Boy and flattened the paper to her husband’s knees. “Look, I’d take him with me if I could, but my hands will be full. My mother needs me.”
He folded the pages and dropped the bundle on the floor. “Don’t be like that. We’ll manage. Just one night, right?”
“I’ll be back by lunchtime or mid-afternoon. You’ve read the instructions. Any last minute questions? He’s a little boy and an easy kid. You won’t have any trouble.”
* * *
The next day, Lois rolled into her driveway tired, but happy. Her mother’s tests had gone well. Hair pulled in a ponytail hinted of not too distant younger days instead of her current 35 years. She retrieved her paraphernalia from the trunk and scanned the neighborhood. So good to be home. The smell of fall already hung in the air though the trees hadn’t changed color yet. Laugh lines engaged, she hummed to herself as she strode to the front door.
“What th…” Lois kicked off her shoes and dropped her bags. Ryan never kicked up a fuss. She dashed towards the howl in the kitchen. Her jaw dropped. The kitchen had been redecorated in red noodles. Both father and son were covered in spaghetti and tomato sauce as well.
“Come on, little man. You like this sh—stuff. Yum-yum.” The baby’s hand collided with the spoon and sent it flying in his mother’s direction. She stepped back in time to avoid a splatter. “Thank gawd you’re home. Look, Mommy’s home, Ryan. Isn’t that nice?”
“Mama-Mama.” Grubby fingers working, chubby arms stretched to reach across the distance.
Ryan wriggled and crawled from the center of the kitchen table, sauce and spaghetti stuck all around him, his little face covered from his hairline downwards. Only his eyeballs appeared untainted. His mother snatched him before he reached the edge. A giggle bubbled up her throat, then grew to an enormous belly laugh as his gummy cheek stuck to hers. Parker sucked in a quick breath and chuckled too. The boy pulled back, eyes wide as he examined his parents and put a gooey hand to his mouth and joined in. Lois pointed a finger at her husband’s head and hooted. “You have more food on your head than hair.”
“Mama-mama.” Ryan rocked himself in his mother’s arms, thumb already in his mouth.
“Mommy’s home, baby. Let’s clean you up. It’s past your nap-time.” Lois ruffled his thin blond hair not unlike his father’s.
“I guess I’ll start on the kitchen.” Parker ducked his head and made a clucking noise.
“One question. Why didn’t you put him into the highchair?”
“He fought like a tiger—arms and legs spun like a propeller. He’s a strong little kid.”
“What’s for lunch? I’m starving?”
“Oh. A can of soup and a bun okay?
“See you in a bit, I’m dying to hear about your time together.”
* * *
Changed and showered, Ryan asleep, Lois poured a coffee in the sticky kitchen. “The stained laundry is ruined. By the way, what did you do with the soiled diapers? They’re not in the diaper pail.”
“Phe-ew. I didn’t know what to do with them, but I had to get them out of the house.”
Eyebrows raised to sharp peeks, she set her mug on the table. Parker squirmed in his seat, a flush rushed from his neck to his ears like a bruise. He twisted the mug in his hands.
“I’ve never been alone with Ryan before. I had to think of something fast.” He rubbed the back of his neck, looking everywhere but at his wife. “What do you do with them?”
She sat back in her chair arms folded and head tilted. “I told you. They all go into the diaper pail. What did you do?”
“I buried them in the backyard.”
“Wha— Maybe you ought to bury all the spaghetti stained clothing as well.”
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