Having completed grace, Butch lifted his head, eyes opening upon the kitchen table. A gray rectangular pan pregnant with meatloaf lay to his left, in front of his father Cyrus, who, lifting a butter knife, quickly sliced through the top layer of baked ketchup, a shower of steam rising from the incision.
To Butch’s right, Faith extended a red ceramic bowl filled with peas towards him. The teen noticed she had deliberated avoided the tab of melting butter when serving her own portion; knowing his father disliked any garnish on his vegetables, Butch made sure to include the butter as he scooped his portion.
The table where they sat was large enough to seat eight, but with the rough collection newspapers, days of unopened mail, and other papers laying at the other end, the furniture seemed better suited as a resting place for clutter than a place for a family meal. Butch’s father served the meatloaf silently, his face displaying its usual aura of satisfied patience; the teen could hear his mother breathing.
“Are Simeon and Sarah joining us?” Butch already knew the answer to his question, but not the explanation.
“Simeon — ” Cyrus cleared his throat — “is with his brother, working in the city tonight.” The 47-year-old pastor stabbed a forkful of meatloaf, raised it to his mouth as he gazed a silent commandment across the table towards his wife.
“And Sarah, is leading a small group discussion, at church.” With her fork, Faith pushed aside a pea that had rolled onto the middle of her plate. “I’ll warm dinner for her, when she comes home.” Butch hardly registered her words, as he began devoring his meal.
“You seem hungry tonight.” Cyrus sounded amused. “That fencing coach work you boys hard today?”
Butch raised his head, swallowed. “Oh! No, we were fencing today, not working.” As his round face tilted down to resume his mealtime attack, Faith’s reply was cut off by a smile and dismissive head shake from Cyrus.