Flash Fiction from INTO THIN AIR by Valerie Maarten
This was the first time in 8 years Maia got to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends. It was an experience she hadn't realized she missed. The rich scents of rosemary, nutmeg and cinnamon began to unlock the memories she tucked safely away in her heart years ago.
"That smells good," Raul said. He walked up behind Maia and placed a kiss on the back of her neck.
"I hope it tastes as good as it looks. I never cooked before and I'm a little nervous about it," Maia said. "But the recipe seemed easy enough to follow."
"It looks wonderful and I'm sure it'll taste better than it looks. You give yourself no credit for the things you've accomplished in your life," Raul said.
He was right. When it came to domestic issues, like cooking and cleaning and running a house, Maia felt inept. She was better at things most people didn't want to tackle. She was at her best when she was ridding the streets of pedophiles, rapists and murderers. Wearing an apron and cooking...this was definitely outside her element.
"Is China going to make it?" India asked as she walked into the kitchen. She knew China was bringing the deserts and she couldn't wait to sink her teeth into them.
Maia looked over at India. She looked like a little princess in her frilly, pink dress with ruffles and bows. Maia shook her head at the sight and chuckled underneath her breath. India is such a girly-girl. Maia was thankful India never suffered the same atrocities as the rest of them. India was going to have a normal life.
"Do you need help setting the table?" India asked.
"Auntie Becca is in charge of the table settings. Go see if she needs help," Maia said.
India skipped out of the kitchen and into the dining room to help.
When the doorbell rang, everyone ran to answer it. It was a long time since China had gone away to college and her presence in the house was greatly missed. Maia was the first one at the door. She snatched it open, a broad smile on her face.
China thrust her desert in Maia's outstretched hands and scooped up a waiting India in her arms. "I missed you so much, princess."
"I miss you, too. Are you coming back to live with us now?" India asked.
She never got used to the idea of China having to go away for school. And when China would come home for the holidays, that was usually the first question she'd ask.
China rubbed her nose against India's and gave her a tight squeeze. "No, but I will be here for a couple of weeks this time."
India giggled. China made her nose tickle. "Can I take the dessert to Auntie Becca?" India asked.
"No!" Maia and China said in unison. It was a beautiful cake and India was not known for her grace and coordination. No matter how much she tried to be elegant and graceful, she had two left feet and stumbled over them often.
"I'll take it to her," Maia finally said.
Family, friends and love were the elements that filled the small gathering at the Estevez home. They caught up on the latest gossip, teased each other about their domestic skills and gave thanks for the circumstances that brought them all together...making them into the people they are today.
"Now for the Estevez family tradition," Raul announced.
"And what might that be?" Maia asked.
Raul dragged out the boxes he spent most of the morning fishing from the attic. He placed it in the living room by the fireplace.
"We get to put up the Christmas tree," he said.
Maia walked over to her husband and gave him a tight hug around his waist. "I love you, you know? You always know how to make our simple lives...perfect."
"That lesson, wife, I learned from you," Raul said.
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