Katie admired Patsy’s newly remodeled Mediterranean-style kitchen with its white marble counters and light brown cabinets. She leaned her elbows on the marble island in the middle of the floor. Across from it, near the big farmhouse sink, a small niche set in the wall held a modern electric coffee percolator and other household appliances.
After a few minutes of relaxing alone, the thrum of a car engine in the attached garage came through the kitchen door. It stopped, and a small, broad-shouldered woman hurried in, carrying two large paper sacks of groceries in her muscular arms. Patsy was as tiny as Audrey Hepburn, but strong. She had to be to lift her daughter. She wore her shoulder-length brown hair swept up into a bun, and dressed for comfort in blue jeans and a white knit top. Even in casual clothes, she projected the image of an elegant and successful lady. However, though she and Katie were both in their early forties, she look a decade older. Her twenty-four-hour, seven-day-a-week obligation to her daughter showed in her lined face and the dark circles under her eyes. Katie had never heard her complain about caring for Tammy, but she was grateful her Kitten would never require the same level of care.
Patsy plopped the bags onto the island and wrapped her arms around her new friend in a warm hug. “Katie, how’re you doin’? I didn’t expect to see you here. I thought you were gonna drop off Karen and be on your way.”
Katie had been worried about Tammy bumping into walls, but did not want to imply that Patsy made a poor decision by leaving Sandra in charge. After hearing the girls screaming at each other, she was glad she had stayed. “I thought I should stay in case Karen needed me. She’s not as independent as she looks. Can I help you carry in things?”
“Sure. In the garage.”
A moment later, Katie carried in a large, white shopping bag with the red Ohrbach’s “Oh!!” on its side. Patsy carried in a cardboard carton. Everything went onto the center island.
“What’s in the Ohrbach’s bag?” Katie asked.
“It’s a surprise for Tammy, and a gift for me. I bought it to wear to Tammy’s next PTA meeting. I want her to be proud of me.”
She lifted an elegant, sleeveless oyster white step-in dress up to her chin. Twirling to the left and then to the right, she giggled as Katie applauded and admired the bateau neckline, matching white leather buckled belt at the natural waist, and the straight skirt hemmed just below the knee.
“And these pumps and gloves go with it.” She lifted two cardboard boxes out of the bag and opened them to show off a pair of black shoes and wrist-length gloves.
“You and Tammy will be the belles of the ball.”
“Let me make you some coffee, Katie. I know I can use some. Do you want anything in it? I have cream, sugar, scotch, and bourbon. Personally, I need cream to soothe my stomach ulcer and lots of sugar to keep my energy up. The hard stuff can wait until my girls have gone to bed and are safe for the night.”
They both laughed.
“And I take mine black to keep my svelte figure,” Katie quipped back, as she patted her bulging belly.
While the coffee perked, Katie helped Patsy put away groceries. Within a few minutes, they were sitting side-by-side on sturdy brown leather-upholstered stools at the island in the middle of the kitchen.
Katie said, “You look like you have a lot on your mind, Patsy. Do you want to tell me about it?”
As Katie sipped her coffee, Patsy explained her situation, while carefully taking a set of six Baccarat crystal wine glasses from the box she had carried in. She placed them in a row beside the sink.
Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.