Nicolette’s bare feet are cold in her kitchen, “Damn,” she mutters-burning her hand on the edge of the pot. Draining the pasta in the sink she yells, “Hey babe, can you get the butter and the baby. I need it for the sauce.” David, her husband, looks at her with eyebrows raised, “You want to put the baby in the pasta? I don’t think that will be good although she is very delicious.” David says and smiles as he scoops Adelle up in his arms and out of the way and kisses her blond head handing his wife the butter, “Are you delicious?” Nicolette asks her perfect amazing baby she made out of thin in air inside her stomach. The baby stares back her with something black and smeary on her chin. Nicolette licks her finger and wipes Adelle’s face. Unable to remove the smudge she wipes the wet potholder across her face as Adelle arches her back and almost slips out of David’s arms. “Watch it the Mama.”
Nicollette sighs. She has been so distracted, as always this time of year. She stirs the pasta wilting the spinach. Jaiver, who is almost four, leans back against her legs. “Mama, I don’t want to color in school I just want to use the paints, but Steven always hogs all the easels except Mandy’s easel because she kicks you!” Nicolettte sighs. “Well, what else do you want to play with?” Jaiver just leans against the back of her legs still pinning her to the stove. “Javi, more your butt. You’re in the way. Move it, buddy.” Javier moves away and sits on the floor holding Adell’s doll and smacking it head on the floor over and over. “Stop it! Jesus Javi, knock it off, man. Go get a book and read it to me and sit over there, “she says pointing the wooden spoon to the step stool by the back stairs.
Adelle walks over to her brother holding her doll and smacks him with it. “Hey Delllie get off!” Javier pinches her arm. Adelle wails Nicollette shouts, “Oh stop it Del, get off of him. Both of you cool it, it’s almost dinner, go sit down. BABE!” she shouts. “What,” David yells up from the basement his favorite place to disappear. “Come up. Its dinner.” Nicolette wipes her nose and stirs the pasta slopping it on to some plates.
Why do I do this? Nicolette wonders thinking about the dinners with her own mother who hated cooking like most people hate cockroaches. Her children would be just fine with a frozen dinner eaten while she read a book, not talking.. The memory making her instantly guilty for always remembering the shitty things. After all, tomorrow will be five years since she died. They sit down, Adelle on her lap reaching for pasta with her hand. As Nicolette gives her baby girl a spoon, Javier says, “Hey Mama, I made up a new joke, do you want to hear it? “ She looks at him and says “Sure buddy, lay it on us.” Javier smiles and says, “Okay, KNOCK KNOCK” “Knock Knock who?” David and Nicollette say together, “Jesus” David and Nicollette look at each other, “Jesus who?” Javier says,” Jesus konk me on the head!” Javier cracks up and drops pasta off his fork onto the floor. Nicolette leaps up shoving the baby at David and goes to the kitchen grabbing a towel to wipe up the pasta. She wipes tears from her eyes, feeling stupid for missing her mother just because her son spills pasta on the floor.