It was 108 degrees. Sitting silently at the kitchen table with the swamp cooler chugging–a useless generic of a bonified air conditioner–my eyes began to close, vaguely aware of my home teacher, Dolores, who sat beside me copying recipes in large print. She’d insisted on guiding me through making a pork roast, even though no one in my family liked it. We’d made sweet potatoes from scratch and banana pudding for dessert.
Though I was grateful for all she was teaching me, we often bunked wills. She demanded complete silence from me while she filled sheets of paper with huge letters, her magic marker squeaking. The recipes were for a notebook I was keeping of everything concerning food preparation.
As I drifted in to a daydream of cool, swirling waters (the color of bananas), suddenly there was a screeching thud that made me jump, my eyes popping open.
“OW!” shouted a voice directly outside my living room window. It was Rob, our apartment manager, who’d tripped on the steps, sending the unlocked gate crashing in to the patio wall. “Shoot!” It was his squeaky, Kermit-the-frog type yells that made the laughter burst out of me.
Immediately, there was banging on the door and I ran to open it as Dolores sat stony-faced.
“Where do you get off laughing at me, lady, I almost broke something!”
Robert stood in the doorway, hands on hips, a note of teasing outrage in his voice. He began jingling his keys, tapping a foot.
“I’m sor-r-r-ry!” was all I could get out, laughing so hard my eyes watered.
“Yeah, sure,” he said now. “What are you cooking in there? It’s too hot–just go to the Tastee-Freeze and buy some taco salad! What kind of nut-job cooks in this heat?”
Dolores was next to me suddenly, smoke curling out of her ears. I felt her fuming as her eyes shot fire at him.
“Excuse me, sir,” she began. “You’re interrupting our time.”
Rob slapped a hand on his forehead. “Oh, I’m sorry. I remember now. No wonder you’re cooking! This must be your mom, right? How are ya? I hope your brains don’t bake in our Arizona heat. I knew you were coming out from back east for a visit. You know, you could just slam the food on the sidewalk for ten minutes. It’d be well done.”
“I am not her mother!” Dolores snapped as I collapsed in hysterics against the open door. “I am Mrs. Fricky from the Association for the Blind and we were having a cooking lesson.”
Rob was taken aback. He ran a hand through his John Denver-ish hair, dropping the keys.
“Oh” he sputtered, “I thought…I mean, excuse me–I’ll be running along now, ladies. Have fun with the food.”
“Bye, Rob,” I gasped as Dolores started for the kitchen, her footsteps quick and angry.
“Lovely woman,” Rob whispered as I shut the door. “You should cook her on the sidewalk!”