Micro-fiction by Voni Harris    

Tillie put three hamburgers in the pan, and took a damp rag over to give the dining room table  a quick wipe while they cooked. The table was covered in dust.


It took her aback. She hadn’t noticed.

Well, they hadn’t been eating at the table lately. Since the divorce—before that, if she were honest—meals were a scattered blur. Joshua took his plates into his room with barely a word while Sierra plopped down in front of a Kid Channel cartoon, and Tillie herself paid bills while she ate at the kitchen counter.

They should watch a movie together as they ate tonight, she thought. But a 15-year-old boy’s tastes were not the same as a six-year-old girl’s. Maybe they should eat at the table together.

She pictured it in her mind: Joshua moping at the table, not saying a word, while Sierra whined about what cartoon she was missing. Or instead of moping and whining, maybe it would be bickering. It wore her out just to think about it.

She wearily leaned on the table for a moment, and as she stood, she noticed her long sleeves were now dusty.

That did it.

She wiped the table, flipped the burgers and called up the stairs for the kids to come eat.

Then she put the burger fixings and the plates on the table.

There would be no dust on the table after tonight’s dinner.

The End