The Daily Grind
Adele had had a long day. Her boss was on top of her about her reports that were late. She kept telling him that she did not have enough time to do all the work that he expected from her but she just kept getting the empty threat about firing her and finding someone faster. But Adele was good at her job.
She knew it and knew that they could not find anyone as good as her. Still, the day wore on her and her boss’ words rang in her head.
She left work and headed home, getting stuck in heavy traffic on her way. Her fuse was short today and she knew that she needed to be anywhere but here. Her thoughts rolled over her day and what she still had to do when she got home. Her daughters would be dropped off by the babysitter at 6:00 p.m., but with this traffic, Adele did not think she would have enough time to get home and make anything for supper. She was tired anyways and really did not feel like cooking.
The Kids Who Can Not Stand Still
Her 8-year old daughters, twins, so of course they always wanted pizza or mac and cheese. Maybe she would take them to the Olive Garden. But as she thought again, she knew that once she was home, she would not want to go out again. She called the babysitter and asked her to grab a large pizza and bring it home with the girls. She would get an extra big tip tonight.
Finally at 6:15 p.m., she pulled into the driveway. Lisa, the babysitter was playing with the girls outside on the steps because she did not have a key. When Lisa heard Adele, she bolted up and gave the girls a quick kiss each. She walked quickly up to Adele.
“Hi Ms. Harmon. The pizza is right there on the stoop,” she said.
Adele looked over at the pizza and her girls who were playing next to it. She started fumbling through her purse for the cash she had for Lisa.
Lisa checked her watch and looked nervous.
“Just a minute here, Lisa,” Adele said. She was annoyed at Lisa’s impatience.
“Ok Ms. Harmon…it’s just that I am supposed to go pick up my brother from soccer practice and it ended at 6. That’s why I told you last week that I really do need to drop the girls off on time,” Lisa said nervously.
She was in her late teens so she was not as confident as she wanted to be but she wanted to remind Ms. Harmon. Her brother has to sit and wait by himself when she picks him up late. Adele finally found the cash and as soon as it was in Lisa’s hand she was gone.
When Adele turned back to her girls she saw one of them carrying the pizza and the other was going to open the door. But suddenly Missy, who was carrying the pizza, tripped and dropped the pizza box. It flew open and the pizza slices went flying all over the sidewalk. Missy looked up at her mother and her sister Lily stopped dead in her tracks.
The Smoldering Flame
Adele felt the rush of anger and frustration come. She had worked hard all day. She had to deal with an idiot for a boss and massive traffic. Then she got a talkin’ to by a teenager and now her daughter had dropped their dinner all over the ground. She could not help think about the waste of money that was now lying there being picked at by birds. She looked at her girls who did not know what was coming.
“Get inside,” Adele said trying to keep her voice low.
She unlocked the door and the girls ran in. They were still hyper from playing with Lisa and they started jumping around and hiding behind the couch.
“Girls come here right now!” Adele said. She heard giggles. As Adele walked around the couch, Missy ran past her and hid behind a chair in the kitchen. Adele lunged at Lily, trying to grab her as she ran away and pulled her hard by the arm. The giggles stopped.
“Ouch,” Lily said as she tried to pull herself free.
Adele only got angrier. Did they not know how much she was dealing with? Could they at least not make her life harder? She tightened her grip.
“Missy come here right now!” she bellowed. Missy looked out from behind the chair, now wanting to hide for real. Slowly she walked towards her mother and sister. When she got within reach her mother grabbed her arm hard too.
She shook them both and said, “You do as I say when I say it, do you hear me?”
The girls nodded.
“Do you think it’s funny to waste food?” she asked them and two terrified faces shook in silence.
“I ought to let you go hungry tonight so you can see the consequences of your actions but I am too tired for that. Now I want you two to sit here while I go change and when I come back, you better have your apologies ready,” she said.
With that she pushed their arms hard and they both fell back onto the couch.
Adele walked back to her room. Her anger subsided. She felt better know that she had gotten some of that off her chest. But she did not know the consequences of her own actions.
Alexis Ali lives in New York and is a freelance writer of short stories. She also sings and has a love for photography. Alexis Ali, author of our first short story series – “The Unfortunate Life of An Interesting Woman,” Be sure to also read her most recent article on “The 2 Dreaded Questions Single Women Still Face,” and subscribe to follow Adele’s Story.
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