Grand-cat-ma

Melody has a problem. It's her grandmother. She thinks she hates her, but a wish could change it all. If Melody has the strength to search for answers.

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4. Cooking

When I got to school two hours later the teacher looked up from the book and said, “what took you so long”.

“Trouble at home,” I answered.

The teacher nodded and handed me my books.  I sat on the other side of the box car doors and opened the books.

“The other kids were telling me they saw you practicing archery,” said the teacher calmly.  I looked up in alarm.  “Don’t worry I don’t believe them, you're too good of a kid,” said the teacher.

I forced myself to look calmer.  I was not sure what was worse, my Grandma being a cat, the teacher trusting me or the thought that the other kids could tell.  The guilt made me want to throw up.

 

When I got home Grand-catma was nowhere to be found.  She’s probably mad at me for turning her into a cat I thought ruefully.  

Friday is today, my birthday.  I should be in a good mood right now.  It’s five and school had ended at four, the guards had lead me home.  My pass was good till tomorrow night.  I could go anywhere do anything.  But I didn’t want to, I wanted to wait for my parents, decided I had to cook a feast to welcome them home.

I glance at the only thing we hadn't sold that wasn’t a necessity, my tea set, it was my first birthday gift, the only other event besides christmas we got extravagant with.  It was hand painted, gold rimmed the cup’s china edges.  It sat in a humble cardboard box with ancient styrofoam for padding.  On top of the styrofoam was a sheet of silk, it was no longer made and was so rare.  The pattern on the set was beautiful too, very detailed blue butterflies with lilac flowers.

I walked to the backyard.  Two hens hung from one of the oak branches.  I untied them and brought the hen to the sink.  I don’t need to describe butchering.  Just know that putting the guts in a pan for gizzards is not the greatest job in the world, ugg.

When the hens were butchered I looked at our spice stores.  Pepper, dried lemon powder, thyme, rosemary and cinnamon.  There was only a cup of each, worth enough to rebuild this house twenty times.

I grabbed the lemon powder and rosemary.  I rubbed two teaspoons of lemon powder in and one of rosemary.  When my Grandma had been a kid your fifteenth birthday was the coming of age, she wanted me to experience what she should have had for her party instead of an earthquake.

Once the chicken had been seasoned I stuck it in the oven and began baking bread.  While I kneaded, I thought about what I would do for vegetables, we grew pumpkins, spaghetti squash, zucchini, cucumber, brussel sprouts, broccoli, sweet pepper in one side, the other was dedicated to the most easiest thing to grow, potatoes and yams.

I stood and worked the bread.  A thought came to me, I would make eggs and mix zucchini noodles and peppers in.  I was going to have to start the squash now if I wanted to finish in time.  I quickly set the bread out to rise and walked out to milk our two goats.  

Butter is much easier than butchering, with butter there is no blood, no guts and only churning.  I worked the butter till I had no more strength to move the stick.  

To my surprise the butter was not smooth as it normally was.  I put the lid on and started working the stick again, this time I put all the strength into my arms.  

Once the squash was buttered I put it and the bread in.  Yes, we do have a large oven.  When that was done I set to work cleaning the counter and washing the things I had used.  Then I checked the bread and squash, I still had half an hour.  

I then mucked the animal pens and garden in the dead of night.  A guard talked to me once and left when he learned I was working and had a pass.  When I came inside it occurred to me that I needed a shower.

Grandcatma landed next to me from the counter when I came into the kitchen.  

“There you are,” I said.

Grandcatma looked at me and stalked out.  I could not blame her for being mad, I would be too.

I took the bread and squash out.  The corn bread smelled so good that my stomach almost folded in half.  I placed the bread on our table and proceed to cut the squash in half.

I raked a fork down the walls of the vegetable.  Then I put a cast iron pan, another antice, on the stove and cracked eggs into it.  I added the vegetables and put half of the spaghetti squash strips in.  The other half I put in a bag for later.  I had no idea how this would turn out.  Anticipation made me bounce on my feet.

When the eggs were done and scrambled I set them in a big bowl and onto the table.  The oven timer went off, now for the “fun” process of pulling chicken out.  

I put gloves on and opened the oven door.  Heat washed over me.  I didn’t bask in it, too hot.  Even through my gloves the pan hurt to touch.  I picked the pan up and spun around fast, praying that it did not fall, I did this with both.  Now I had a feast for when my relatives got here.  I picked up my watch off the table and checked, eleven pm, they should be here any minute.  

 

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