10 comments

Fiction

(Please keep in mind, I'm not an expert on Mexican traditions or Spanish, so if there's something offensive, I apologize. Let me know, and I'll fix it if I can!)

"Miguel! Wheres that lettuce?" Nana yelled over the noises of too many people in a tiny kitchen.

"Coming, Nana!" Miguel hollered back, hurrying his cutting. Somebody bumped into him and he groaned to himself. "Can't Pedro do this? There are too many people in here." He received a swift slap against the back of his head as an answer.Β 

"Mind your manners Lito," His uncle Javier responded, using his nickname. "Being in this kitchen surrounded by family is a gift." Miguel made a face but stayed silent. His mom tutted and walked over, putting her hand on his.Β 

"Here, let me show you the proper way." She said, voice soft and low as always. She slowly pushed the knife down on the lettuce and then sped up, correcting Miguel's mistake. "Better." She praised when she pulled away, letting him do it himself. Miguel rolled his eyes.Β 

"There's not even a difference." He muttered.Β 

"Lito!" His Nana cried and Miguel cringed.Β 

"Sorry, Nana." He said, eyes on the lettuce. His Nana stepped away from the soup pot she was stirring and made shooing motions at everybody else, making her way to her grandson. She took the knife from his hand and pulled him to the edge of the kitchen.Β 

"Look." She instructed and Miguel did.Β 

Little cousins ran around the small cottage, playing tag, fighting over toys, yelling over board games, bumping into tables and couches, and laughing. It was pandemonium and Miguel resisted the urge to cover his ears.Β 

"What do you see?" His Nana urged.Β 

"Chaos," Miguel responded. What he wouldn't give for his earbuds right now. Or a pair of earmuffs. His Nana smiled.Β 

"And?" She asked. Miguel looked again.Β 

"Marco's bleeding?" He tried once more.Β 

His Nana shook her head and spread her arm out. "I see something else." Then she turned back to her grandson and chuckled at his confused face. She put a finger on his chest and pressed softly. "You just have to use your eyes."

"He can't!" Miguel's sister, Rosa, yelled from the sink. "He's so blind he has to keep his contacts next to his bed." Everybody in the kitchen started laughing and Miguel's face turned a deep red.Β 

"Rosaaaaaa." He whined and she giggled, winking.Β 

"Just think of it as payback for telling on me about eating the last concha." She responded, rinsing the soap off her hands.Β 

Miguel rolled his eyes and turned back around looking at the kids.Β 

Marco now had a Star Wars bandaid on his knee and he was running around and tackling his older cousins once again. Araceli had Silvia, uncle Javiers daughter, on her back and was zipping around, making airplane noises. Teresa was sitting on the couch, playing a video game for the twins, Rafael and Valentina, who were staring at the screen with big, wonder-filled eyes.Β 

Miguel squinted, trying to find whatever Nana was talking about but all he saw was disorder. He wrinkled his nose and then went back to chopping lettuce at his mother's direction.Β 

At last, the children were wrangled and began to set the table, constantly coming back to the kitchen for plates, napkins, cups, and silverware. Miguel watched, idly stirring the pozole from his new station at the stove.Β 

Marco was just throwing stuff down, and Teresa came behind him, cleaning everything up and yelling at him to do a better job.Β 

A smile flickered on Miguel's face as he watched the two bicker over which side of the plate the spoon went on and Araceli swoop in, calming them both down.Β 

"Thank heavens for our peacemaker." Aunt Julia whispered, bringing a pitcher of juice to the table and everybody in the kitchen laughed. Minutes later the table was set, and the excessive amount of food was piled onto the table. Nachos, elote, pozole, tacos, guacamole, tamales, quesadillas, burritoes, soups and conchas were crammed next to each other. Miguel's stomach rumbled just looking at them. Then Nana stood, holding the knives in her hand.Β 

Years ago, when Miguel was just a toddler, Uncle Javier had accidentally put a knife in the oven. When he realized it, it was too late and the turkey was ruined. However, the inside of the knife handle had melted, making it so when you shook it, it rattled. Since then that knife had been deemed 'Special' and every year at family events, whoever got the knife would supposedly have good luck. Miguel had never believed in luck, maybe because he never got the knife, but he walked into the backyard with everybody else when Nana shooed them out to give it to a lucky person anyways.Β 

When they were allowed back in, Miguel sat down at the table, raising his hands like he was at gunpoint. Nana made everybody do it, to make sure nobody touched the knives before she was ready.Β 

When all the little kids were settled, Nana stood, holding up her knife. She never gave herself the one that rattled, but that didn't seem to bother her. She loved watching her grandchildren pick up their knives, smiles on their faces.Β 

"Uno, dos tres!" She cried and everybody picked up their knife and shook it. The knife's familiar rattle came from the end of the table, right where Miguel sat. He blinked and looked up at his Nana who grinned, showing off her silver and gold teeth.Β 

"May this year bring you luck, Lito." She said, raising her glass.Β 

"Β‘Salud!" Everybody else cheered and Miguel smiled. His Nana sat back down and waved her hands, telling people it was time to start eating.Β 

Soon the clink of plates, 'thank you's and 'can you pass the salt?' could be heard. Throughout the interaction, Miguel watched. Araceli was laughing at Rosa, who was balancing a spoon on her nose. The twins were stuffing their faces with bean soup, getting it everywhere. Marco was attempting to grab a second concha, but Teresa slapped his hand away.Β 

Miguel smiled again and snapped out of his stupor, reached over, and grabbed the plate of carne asada tacos his mom passed him. He piled up his plate before handing it to his uncle.Β 

Miguel shoved a big bite of taco in his mouth and glanced up to see his Nana staring at him. She leaned forward.Β 

"Do you see it now?" She asked. "The special ingredient?" Miguel looked back at his family, all laughing and chatting while eating.Β 

Miguel grinned and turned back to his Nana. "I do." He said and placed his hand on her old, wrinkled one. "It's love."Β 

July 02, 2021 00:31

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10 comments

14:34 Jul 04, 2021

Awwwwwww- Finally something sweet and wholesome (god I needed this so bad-) I like the whole β€œlucky knife” tradition tubing. It’s cute and unique

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Haha thanks (Wait, your pfp has the pan colors- are you pan?! *intense gasps*)

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01:51 Jul 05, 2021

(haha yup. proud panromantic just like you)

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(Ommggg yassss!!!! I accept you, your valid!! I love you!! Ahhh! New pan friend!)

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13:33 Jul 06, 2021

(:D)

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17:53 Jul 07, 2021

No need to apologize :-) It's an excellent story that respects both Spanish and traditions (especially, EVERYBODY having a meal at a table, together -not in front of the TV set or each one in his or her own room- with all its "consequences" and fun). Your story is a sweet reminder, for all cultures, that family comes first and we need to enjoy every moment together.

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Awe thank you, your comment made my day!

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03:23 Apr 05, 2022

Your stories are adorable. And heavily calming. Thank you for the read <3

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04:29 Apr 05, 2022

Always <3 <3 <3

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