Secret behind the meal.

Submitted into Contest #100 in response to: Write a story that involves a secret or magic ingredient.... view prompt

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Creative Nonfiction Western Fiction

Standing far behind on the long queue, I was beginning to loose my patience, the line seemed to be static for more than 30minutes now and the other people began to murmur, in the midst of the whole craziness a young lady calmly walked up to me and poked me "there isn't anyone behind you right"? She asked, "no" I responded as I took my gaze off her and continued to look cautiously at the queue in order to catch anyone that was cutting corners when it wasn't their turn, "I'm behind you" she whispered as she walked off, "stand here before someone else takes your spot" I said stopping her from going any further, soon the line began to move and this time, it was quite fast, people kept moving with their trays filled with whatever they had ordered to get themselves a table to settle in, in nothing less than 10minutes, it was my turn, "hello Terry" a voice greeted, I jumped out of my skin when I saw who it was, I wasn't expecting to see her standing behind the counter as I was placing my order, she was supposed to be in her office or something, "Aunt Mai" I managed to mutter just as I was getting over the scare, "decided to grab a bite at my restaurant yeah"? She asked as she grinned from ear to ear, "yes aunty" I replied feeling busted already, "give him whatever he orders for, don't charge him" she said to the young lady who was attending to me, "we'll talk at the family thanksgiving dinner tomorrow" she said as she ruffled my hair and left through the door behind the attendants who took the orders, just as my order was complete, I took my tray and headed straight to an empty table at the corner of the large hall.

       Aunt Mai is my mother's youngest sister, she wasn't my favorite aunty but we got along quite well, she kept a short, dark hair, was average in height and quite chubby, had a soothing but strong voice and was a very beautiful woman, she is also single. She started her restaurant three months ago, a move her siblings were skeptical about and it became a sensation in the town, it grew so much that she had to open other outlets, she always left her customers asking for more of all of her meals and they were willing to pay whatever the price was in order to have more, rumors began to circulate that she was putting charms or potions into the meals she prepared, my mum sometimes wondered how she was able to get such a crowd "she wasn't such a good cook that's why we were scared when she wanted to start her business but I can't make assumptions" my mum said to a friend who asked her what she thought about the rumors, I hadn't eaten any of her meals so I decided to give it a try at her restaurant, one bite gave me all the answers I needed as to why the whole town was going crazy over her meals, while this amazed me, it kind of scared me and left me with a big question, "what was the secret to all the tasty meals that made everyone want more"?.

     It was thanksgiving already, I wasn't just excited about the lovely meals that came with it rather it was mainly because the family got together to enjoy the dishes. On that thanksgiving morning, while everyone went to the chapel to pray and give thanks, my mum and I stayed behind to prepare as many dishes as we planned to prepare, while we were still in the process, we got a knock on the door, I went to get it and lo and behold, it was Aunt Mai, I greeted her and gestured to her to come in, my mum on the other had came out to see who it was "oh hi Mai" my mother said as she let out a dry smile, "hey sis, I just thought you could need some help with the dishes so I decided to lend a helping hand" Aunt Mai said as she smiled brightly trying to cover up how tensed and anxious she was as she spoke, after a minute of silence between them, my mum signaled her to come along at which she reacted with a smile. In the kitchen they seemed to have a pretty decent conversation as they prepared the meals, my mum moved up to were I was chopping the vegetables as if to inspect my work, but as she leaned towards me she whispered "keep an eye on her, I don't trust her" I froze on my seat but still managed to nod, my mum then picked up the cookie tray and headed to the dinning room to fill the cookie jars, while I was chopping the vegetables, I kept a close eye on Aunt Mai as mum instructed, soon she stood to put in some spices into the food she was preparing "care to watch"? She asked as her gaze catch mine, I felt I was caught already but I didn't want to give that impression, "uh sure" I replied quickly as I stood and walked straight to her, she smiled at me and proceeded to putting in the spices, just as I was watching everything she put in, I noticed she reached into her sweatpant's pocket and brought out a piece of paper and a little spice wrapper, I stared at her wide eyed and was about to ask her what she was about to do, but she caught on it and responded before I even asked, "it's the recipe I developed" she said as she diligently mixed the spices according to what she was reading from the paper, "that's what gives me my meals a unique flavour, and this spice in my hand is a mixed spice made by me" she further explained, "wow, so that's your secret" I said as I slowly began to connect the dots in my head, "that's correct" she said as she looked up at me and smiled "people think I put potions into my meals and honestly that hurts, I wish people especially my family would stop saying that" she continued, this time I could see the sadness in her eyes, before I could console her she took a little bit of the food and gestured to me to taste it which I did, immediately I tasted it I eyes lit with excitement and surprise, "this is delicious"! I exclaimed as I savored the taste "oh you are making me blush" Aunt Mai said as she grinned from ear to ear, "aunty you got to teach me your recipe how to make this spice" I said excitingly, "I could teach you how to make the spice but I can't share my recipe" she said, I didn't throw a fit about it and we laughed it off and I resumed to chopping the vegetables.

   Soon relatives began to come over, in less than an hour, the house was filled, there were chatters everywhere and I was so happy to see my cousins, soon it was meal time, and everyone moved to the long dinning table and took their seats at different positions, my mum and I were dishing out the meals when Aunt Mai appeared and tried to get a seat on the table herself, "did she prepare these meals"? One of my uncles asked, "no she just helped me" my mum replied quickly as if to reassure them that nothing happened, I noticed Aunt Mai take a seat at the far end of the table, she sank her head and picked her fingers, I really felt bad for her and then I turned to my uncles and asked "and what if she prepared it"? The whole room went dead silent for 5minutes, even my mum froze on her tracks, "how could you let that happen"? my mum now furious asked me, "Aunt Mai doesn't put potions in her meals, I watched her throughout, she just learnt to develop her own recipes, spices and mixes, I learned them all today while investigating her, she could teach you all about the spice too, just ask her and she'll tell you, don't just judge her like that"! I said, addressing everyone in the room, they all looked shocked but never said a word, "is that true"? my mum asked as she looked up at Aunt Mai, she nodded and my mum looked away from her, trying to hide her tears, that moment was quite emotional, luckily my family wasn't filled with people who were too arrogant to accept the truth or apologize for anything and that was a relief. The dinner ended well and every meal was eaten, not a tiny bite was left, soon one by one, they started heading home, I kissed my cousins goodbye, same went to my uncles and aunts, my mum, Aunt Mai and I cleaned up the table and everything that needed cleaning in the kitchen, my mum and Aunt Mai had a long talk, they seemed to be cool and soon Aunt Mai decided to go home, while I walked her to the door she turned and gave me a hug "thank you" she muttered as I in turn hugged her tightly too, as she walked to her car, she turned and when our eyes met, I waved to her and then she waved back before getting into her car and zooming off, "This was so far the best thanksgiving I ever had in my life" I thought to myself as I shut the door behind me.

June 26, 2021 20:37

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