|About 510 words
Kitty put the Spaghetti noodles into a strainer and ran cold water over them.
“Estimated time of arrival?” I looked up at the clock, it was 6:35.
“We have about five minutes.” She shook her head, her blond curls bouncing.
“That’s not good. We haven’t even started the salad yet.” She was right, and I knew it. I looked at my little sister. She sat on the floor holding a plastic car upside down and spinning its tires. If only she were old enough to help. Then I had a sudden flash of brilliance. I bent down so I was closer to her level.
“Kimmie,” she lowered the car and stared at me. “You love mama right?” It was lucky that she was too young to be suspicious of my motives. On the other hand if she were older she could have helped in other ways. She nodded. “Great!” I flashed her a big smile. “When mama comes in then, why don’t you give her a big hug, and don’t let go.” She put her car on the ground and rolled it toward the living room, toddling off after it.
“Pat, you need to make that salad.” Kitty was getting impatient with me.
“I’ve got it.” I pulled lettuce, tomato, celery, radishes and cheese from the refrigerator. Kitty was stirring the sauce, so I went right to the sink, washed the veggies and started cutting them. I heard the front door open and my mother called out to us.
“Kids, I’m home. Oh, Kimmie, hi sweetheart. I’m glad to see you too. Now, can mommy take her shoes off? No?” The salad wasn’t finished, but I couldn’t resist peeking out of the kitchen. There was Kimmie, holding onto Mom’s leg so tight that Mom was pinned to the spot.
“Hurry up,” Kitty hissed. I looked back, she was putting the spaghetti in a serving dish. I returned to the salad.
“Is something wrong Kimmie? No?” Mom seemed to be having a bit of trouble getting around my obstacle. I finished the salad and took it to the dining room. Everything was perfect. The streamers and balloons in red, yellow and green, the good dishes, the place was perfect. I smiled at Kitty who was grinning back. We walked into the living room ourselves, where Mom was standing, briefcase in one hand, the other holding Kimmie. Her head was bowed over my sister and she seemed confused.
“Happy Birthday,” Kitty and I chorused loudly, followed with, “surprise!” Mom’s expression changed to one of delight.
“What have you two been up to?” She looked down at Kimmie. “You can call off your co-conspirator now I think,” I grinned.
“Okay Kimmie, you can let Mom go now.” Kimmie held fast. “Kimmie? Kimmie!” I turned and shook my head at Kitty. That was the problem with little monsters, you could sic them on someone, but there was no way to call them off. “Sorry Mom, even if it is your Birthday, I’m afraid you’re on your own for that one.”