An Old Recipe 4

[Yes, I’ve been misspelling recipe all week. And yes, I’ve gone and corrected my earlier three post titles. We now return to our regularly scheduled melodrama.]

“No, Butch, this isn’t Mama Jan’s.” Head twitching, Faith took the plate away from Butch abruptly, her other hand scooping another serving of meatloaf from the rectangular pan. “It’s — an old recipe. Something I learned a long time ago.”

“Oh!” Butch’s round eyes glanced down at the plate sliding in front of him, a trail of dried ketchup leaving a smear of crimson at the top. “Sorry, I don’t mean to ask so many questions. It’s just — I like to know how things came to be, like they are. How people learn how to do stuff.” The teen looked up — Faith was smiling at him pleasantly, but his father looked off to his left, in the direction of the small rectangular window, high above the kitchen sink. The sky was a uniform gray, darkening in the early evening dusk, and seemed the only thing at the moment which interested Cyrus Goodman.

The look on his father’s face made Butch uneasy. His mind searched for a safe question to ask, then — “Asher’s coming home this weekend, right?”

Cyrus seemed to ignore the question, his eyes continuing to examine the growing twilight. Faith cleared her throat. “He’ll be here Friday night, after work.”

“Oh!” Seeing his father continuing to look away, Butch picked up his fork, was about to slice into his meatloaf — “He said he and I could go hunting this — ”

The table in front of Butch slid to the right sharply, plates and silverware clattering in the wake of Cyrus’ sudden rising. Butch looked up, saw his father’s jaw clenched tightly, his eyes glaring down at his son with with looked like a barely controlled fury. His right index finger pointed down — “It was your mother’s recipe!”

Butch glanced over at Faith, saw she was just as fearfully surprised as he. She raised a palm cautiously up to her husband — “Dear, please — ”

POLLY’S RECIPE!” And as Cyrus cast the table aside, the legs rising a moment off the floor, Butch recognized the time for questions had ended, the best he and his stepmother could do now was to endure the force of his father’s fury.

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