“Hey!” Hannah’s phone was taken right out of her hands.
“You know the rule.” Her mother slipped the phone into her apron and sat across from Hannah. “No phones at dinner.”
“You know you can get it back after we talk. How was your day?”
“Fine.” Hannah picked up her fork and started swirling her spaghetti. Her mother tilted her head slightly and blinked. “School was good. I feel pretty good about the math test. I was just a couple seconds shy of my record in the half mile. Those are my highlights.”
“Very nice dear.” Her mother’s fork was full of noodles dripping bright red sauce. “My highlight is I finally got that wine stain out of the counter top.”
“Great mom.” The noodles were soft, and the sauce was spiced with garlic and oregano. Hannah focused on that while her mother started on her blaternation for the day.
“Remember when your father spilled like half the bottle? That huge red blob he nicknamed the whale.”
“Uh-huh.” Hannah propped her head in in hand for a moment before her mother clicked her tongue. She yanked her elbow off the table while her mother continued.
“I even found some of the stain under the microwave.” Her mother flicked her empty hand towards the stainless steel appliance. “Can you believe it?”
Hannah swallowed quickly. “Sure can.”
“So I finally decided to get rid of it, because I would never hear the end of it from my mother if she saw it when she comes next week.” Hannah nodded while she started chewing another bite. It was enough for her mother to continue. “So I got my tools and set to work.”
Hannah nodded and made humming noises at all the right places in her mother’s boring story pretending to be an epic stain removal saga. All the while Hannah ate and daydreamed about the end of year track party.
The last text she got to read before her mother snatched away her phone was burned into her mind. Beach party! Bikinis in school colors!
Hannah knew she had to coordinate with the other girls, and contact her co-captain for all the particular details a beach party needed. Her lists of possible food, activities, and extra sunblock. Lots of extra sunblock.
“Amazing mom.” Hannah grinned after she took her last bite of dinner and her mother paused long enough for it to be the end of the story.
“Yep. You?” Her mother nodded. Hannah stood, her legs peeling off the vinyl upholstery. Taking her mother’s bowl to the sink, she drafted a couple texts in her mind.
“Phone’s on the table.”
Hannah pounced on her phone and her thumbs flew over the virtual keyboard. Messages bounced back and forth and it was well worth mastering the art of smiling and nodding.
Word count: 474