Daniel’s girlfriend caught on to his family’s expectations of Mrs Smith’s cooking while joining them in the dining room, all awaiting the bearer of the platters. The family drew out their chairs and sat. Sue and Daniel were the last to arrive.
She was quick of eye and caught many a surreptitious ‘sniff’ as she sat to Daniel’s left. After each one around the table had inhaled the not too pleasant odours from the kitchen, the conversation around the table died to an awkward silence, filled only with the quiet shuffle of fidgeting.
Mr. Smith’s reaction to the test of the approaching flavours was to pull in his chair tight against the table’s edge, as he pulled from his pocket a tube of peppermints. He sat bolt upright, avoiding everyone’s eyes.
Sue noted Daniel hooked his right ankle around the chair leg of Amy, the youngest daughter, beside him. On Amy’s other side, another brother had her far chair leg also hooked by an ankle.
Peter’s shoulders had slumped, and Rosie’s head was drooping. Thomas rose from his chair and fetched two more salt and pepper sets and another pot of mustard. Mister Smith motioned to Joanna, who began pouring and passing glasses of water. Large glasses.
The younger Peter passed around the paper napkin dispenser, and Sue noted how they all took at least three.
Daniel gripped her hand, and whispered “Don’t worry. It’ll be alright.”
Written at March meeting