Cousins, Corners, and Cinnamon Crisps
Please accept my story for the Weekly Writing Challenge, Pie.
“Amy, be nice to your cousin.” Mom frowned. “Ella wants to help—”
“But, she isn’t my real cousin.” Amy stamped her foot. “ And Grandma isn’t—”
“Enough, Missy. You aren’t too old to spank.” Mom picked up the other girl. Tears streamed down Ella’s cheeks, glistening in the kitchen lights. “Say you’re sorry Amy.”
“I’m…sorry.” Amy looked away. She wasn’t sorry at all. Mom had promised Amy could bake pies for Grandma. Why did Ella always horn in. “Can we bake it now, Mom, please?”
When her mother nodded, Amy clambered up Mom’s step stool and opened the baking cupboard. Giggling, she pulled out cake pans and baking sheets. A battered old pie pan slipped off and clattered on the floor.
“Don’t worry, Mom, I’ll wash it.” She hopped down to get it, but Ella was there first. And she wouldn’t let go.
“Now Amy, share with your cousin. Let Ella help out too.”
Amy looked at Mom. How could she like Ella better? She almost screamed, but knew that wouldn’t work.
She turned to Ella. “Would you like to help?” She nodded, and slid past her opponent to start washing.
After Mom found another stool, they both stood at the sink, up to their elbows in warm, soapy water. Amy convinced Ella that the best job was drying, while Amy washed big spoons and pie tins.
Amy kept looking over her shoulder as Mom brought out apples and peeled them. Leaving Ella to finish drying, Amy hopped down.
“Mom, can I help?” she asked. She brought Mom’s favorite metal bowl. The big spoons clanged like bells. She held it up for her mom. She wasn’t allowed to use knives, but she scooped up apple pieces and dropped them inside. Ella was just finishing drying.
Mom handed her the bowl.
Ella grabbed and tugged. In a heart beat, apple slices flew everywhere.
“Amy Marie, what have you done?” Mom glared at Amy. “Go to your corner. Now.”
“But, Mom, it was Ella’s—” Mom’s gripped her arm like she was going to break it. “But, Mom—”
“Want me to paddle you?”
In her corner, Amy closed her eyes. She heard beeps. Mom set her timer. Amy leaned against the cool, slippery tile. Between the tiles,it felt like sand.
She listened. Clanging of pots and pans. Mom encouraging Ella. Laughing.
It hadn’t been the same since Aunt Mary and Uncle Drew adopted her. Amy had been Grandma’s girl until then. And, now, Grandma was sick.
Amy felt tears trickle down. She needed to wipe her nose. It wasn’t fair.
Did Ella feel the same way? Her parents died in that place they talked about on TV. And she had to come here. Amy had been so mean.
Why shouldn’t Ella be mean back?
Arms encircled Amy. “Aunt Becca said you could help if you wanted.”
She turned around. Then the girls held each other close. “I’m real sorry Ella. I didn’t—”
“Me, too,” Ella said. “Let’s help your Mom.”
Holding hands, they went back. Mom touched up Amy’s eyes and nose. Together, they helped Mom.
“That’s more like it. Let’s see about finishing this pie.” The dough was already in the pie tin. They poured the apple slices, and sugar, and cinnamon together. “Bet you two would like cinnamon crisps when we get done.
The cinnamon and sugar and apples smelled so…so yummy. Amy’s mouth watered. She wished she could think of a word to call it.
Mom pulled out cinnamon crisps from the oven. “Wow. Kind of hot. We need a plate.”
They raced to the table. Amy let Ella sit in her chair. They giggled. The crisp crust brimmed with sticky sugar and cinnamon dust.
Amy grinned at Ella. “I’m so happy you came to our family.”