Note:I asked my Facebook peeps to suggest startingsentences for a Kiki Lowenstein short story. There were so manyterrific ideas that I have decided to try to incorporate more than one –andwrite a progressive short story. You’ll be reading this as I create it! Wish meluck!
Note:This short story comes before Ready, Scrap,Shoot—and Kiki is six weeks pregnant.
In last two weeks’ installments—Kiki walked into Time in theBottle only to discover papers scattered everywhere. Detective Chad Detweilerarrived to pronounce the store “safe,” but Kiki’s still wondering what’s up.Her co-worker Margit has shown up and reminded Kiki that she needs a great ideafor a crop in May. As she’s pondering what to do, Teresa Alvarez stops in to drop off agift for Kiki. Teresa is planning to become a US citizen on May 5.
“Yes, do open thegift,” said Teresa, but her smile faltered just a little. Her lovely brown eyes swam with tears. Asalways, she dressed simply in inexpensive jeans and a colorful knit blouse. Butlarge gold hoops swayed in her ears and a silk flower caught her hair so thatit was pinned up over one ear. Her distinctive fragrance was vanilla, so warmand wholesome that I couldn’t help but breath deeply and enjoy it.
“What’s wrong?” Iasked.
“It is nothing.”She brushed away my question with a tiny gesture of her hand.
As tempting as itwas to open the bag and dive right into the gift, I hesitated. “Come on,Teresa. What’s up? Come on over and sit down. Would you like a Coke?”
“A Diet Dr Pepper?”
I laughed, “Youknow that we stock those, although I’m envious because I’m drinking water thesedays. Have a seat at my work table.”
After we’d had asip of our drinks, I tried to steer us back to the topic at hand. “So what’sbothering you, Teresa? I know it’s been a long road to citizenship. You’realmost there, and we’re all very happy for you.”
“Si, but my sister Juanita planned toapply with me, and she can’t. The cost of the application has gone up. So much!It is now $680! And if it is denied, she cannot get it back. Instead, shethinks she will only renew her green card. That will cost her $450 and thoseare almost never turned down. She says she cannot afford to gamble so much. Isay, but you could be sent back to Mexico! Yes, she says but if she goes, atleast she will go take a little money with her to her family. Her husband hasdiabetes and has not worked in two years.”
I had no idea itcost even to apply for citizenship, so I sat there feeling stunned and sad. Myown sister Amanda had recently re-entered my life. I counted her a greatblessing. She and I had both grown up in the years we’d been semi-estranged. Werealized that we’d harbored mistaken impressions of each other’s life. Ofcourse, my mother had been particularly unhelpful in reuniting us.
I blinked and my mind flashed on a vision of mycute cop-of-a-boyfriend, Chad Detweiler.* I remembered something he’d said justtwo mornings ago, “I only have five socks here.** But knowing you, you’ll takethat odd one and make something wonderful with it. That’s what I love aboutyou, Kiki. You always make lemons into lemonade.”
“That’s me. Trouble follows me everywhere, soI’ve gotten a lot of practice at turning frowns into smile,” I’d said as Istood on tiptoe to kiss him. *** As I looked into his eyes, I could feel thathe was just as in love with me as I was with him. ****
“Good old Mom. Even if it was a dark and stormynight, she’d find a way to be happy about it.***** These days, she’s a regularSuzy Sunshine,” my daughter Anya had chimed in and we all laughed.
“Yes, I do think I’m all that!” I’d yelled as Islammed the door and started my shower. ****** I could hear Chad and Anyagiggling on the other side, and it pleased me to no end.
But a soft hiccupfrom Teresa brought me back to the here and now as she shed a few more tears. Ipatted her hand, a totally useless gesture, but what else could I do?
“And my sister?She is expecting. It makes me so sad because my children will not grow up withhers if she is sent back.”
Call me hormonal,because I am, but I burst into tears at that.
“You better openthe bag,” she said as she wiped her face. “Because you need to cheer up. I didnot mean to upset you, Kiki. Your littlebaby will suffer if you worry too much, my friend.”
“Okay.” I neverneeded much coaxing to tear open a present. This time I lifted one crumpledsheet of tissue paper after another out and set them carefully on my worktable. They formed a happy rainbow at my elbow. Near the bottom of the bag, Ifound a small tinfoil packet that I unwrapped carefully. Inside were a dozenwhite chocolate tamales.” I squealed with delight. “Love these!”
“I know you do!There is more.” She clapped her hands together in shared delight.
I lifted out morecrumpled pieces until I found a Styrofoam egg carton taped shut.
“Open it!” Teresalaughed.
I did. Insidewhere a dozen brightly colored eggs.
MORE TO COME and thanks to my co-authors–