Dinner’s at eight; it’s always at eight. It’s Wednesday, so we will have apple pie for dessert. Nobody has the nerve to tell mom they don’t like apple pie.
What matters is she serves it; we eat it. I consider it a slice of sanity rather than pie, because it makes her happy.
After dinner there will be awkward silence. That’s the nice thing about dinner at eight and apple pie on Wednesdays, it replaces the awkward silence – even if momentarily.
Sometimes at church, on Sundays, I wonder what time Mary would serve Jesus dinner and if they had apple pie. I suppose I should be considering my sins and how I should be acting, rather than what they’re eating. What I most want to know is how Mary and Jesus dealt with awkward silence. Did they pray it away?
I don’t know how many times a day I wipe my eyes expecting to find tears. It’s not that I’m sad or anything, they just feel wet all the time. Mom tells me I’ll only irritate them by touching them. I irritate her every time I wipe them.
Tomorrow’s a special day – I get to ride my new bike to school. Our neighbor, Charlie, overheard me one day talking about how I wish I had a bike to ride to school. Two weeks later, mama opens the door after the caller’s loud knock got her attention, and there’s Charlie, with the biggest grin I had ever seen on a grown man.
“Sorry about the loud knock, I was so excited about bringing Carol this new bike, I didn’t realize the strength of my knock. I built this for her so she could ride it to school with the other kids.”
No one was immune from the awkward silence mama could create, not even Charlie. As he tried to combat the silence with more talk, I rushed to the door to rescue him; and to retrieve my new bike. I hugged Charlie real tight and thanked him. He is such a nice man.
Mama starts to walk away, when I faintly hear her mumble something about not tracking in mud with the bike tires. Not a problem I think, after all, this was a special bike, which I planned to keep clean.
Special occasions tend to help break up awkward moments, when the silence threatens to create confusion in my head. The special occasion acts like a pass interference, and confusion is replaced with, well, bikes.
Hi my name is Carol, and this is a story about a ten-year-old girl who gets a new bike.
Painting by Nicole Tollison