[Fiction] Friday Challenge: The family has just sat down to enjoy a scrumptious and beautiful Thanksgiving dinner (one which the hostess spent weeks preparing and hours baking), when an uninvited guest unexpectedly shows up …
"Peter, darling, could you go and get the door, please?" Sylvie was busy setting the table. Although there was no family worth speaking of and all their friends had other invitations, they would have a great Thanksgiving. Food was prepared - she had put all her skills into making a "false turkey" from ground turkey meat, complete with stuffing and elaborately formed, mashed potatoes, peas, turnips and a spiced pumpkin pie. The kids were already sitting at the table, waging war with their cutlery.
"Stop that, please. Remember, this is about being grateful."
"I am grateful that I won!" shouted Stephan and brought the end of his children's knife down on his little sister's hand. Tina started crying.
"Steph! Put that down and apologize! Now!" Sylvie gave him that evil mother stare, he shrank back in on himself and muttered something that might well have been an apology. Sylvie wondered who might have been at the door and went to fetch the steaming plates and bowls.
Through the half-open kitchen door she suddenly heard the children shouting, chairs crashing to the ground. Her heart stopped beating for a moment, then she realized nothing was wrong. They were excited to see someone. But who...?
An elderly woman was standing in the dining room, long violet coat, matching hat with a playful tiny veil. Thoroughly done silver-grey curls, body a little plump, but still very feminine. She glimpsed an expensive-looking conservative old ladies' costume under the coat and forced a smile on her face.
The kids were excited. "Grandma! What a surprise!"
Peter smiled, but his eyes were full of questions. He came over to her and asked in his whisper-voice that probably carried through half their house, "Hadn't you told me your mother was dead?"
"Well", she whispered back and felt her cheeks glowing, "it's kind of a long story."
"But she is your mother and not some crazy old lady who is going to kill us with, like, her hatpin?"
"Yes, this is family." Sylvie put more force in her smile to make up for her husband's impolite behaviour. Peter never was good around other people. But he was so sweet! She closed the distance between herself and the old lady and made herself embrace the visitor. The same smell, despite all the changes, despite all the years... obviously not everything had changed.
"It's good to see you, Da- I mean, Roberta."
The old woman smiled hesitantly. "I hope you are not mad at me for bursting in on you like this? You never liked surprises, even as a little girl... I brought gifts for the children, if you don't mind."
The kids grinned. Having a grandma wasn't that bad after all.
Sylvie gathered herself, straightened her shoulders and nodded. "That's all right. Peter will take your coat and hat. Why don't you sit down and dine with us? Want some wine?"
"Whatever you got, my dear."
Peter did as he had been told, but he threw her another curious glance. Here was hoping he'd behave himself until after dinner. This would give her the time to find out how to tell him that her mother had indeed dies years before they had met. And that the old lady sitting at their table, admiring the tasteful interior of their house was - her dad.