The young girl sat in the white vinyl bucket chair, the one that wobbled slightly on its silver pedestal base from years of substituting as a Sit ‘N Spin. The silk inside a shucked ear of July Silver Queen corn was her long summer white ponytails. They had been twisted and skillfully joined by two figure eight elastics with shiny red plastic balls at each end. The part in the back of her head was only ever so slightly crooked. Her bony, sun browned knees extended East and West as she sat cross-legged at the round, wood grained linoleum table and lost herself in the glossy wallpaper, flowered with the burnt orange and avocado palette of the 1970’s.
The smells of vanilla, nutmeg, and maple syrup permeated the air as the French toast sizzled on the griddle behind her. Her mother was cooking a Saturday morning breakfast, coffee mug in one hand, spatula in the other, as her True Blue 100 released a twirling ribbon of smoke from a nearby ashtray.
The thick yellow sunlight that spilled through the sliding screen doors skewed long reaching rectangles across the patterned linoleum floor. “Up up and awwwway, in my beautiful, my beautiful balloooooon” was playing as her mother bopped and swayed while she puffed her cigarette and flipped French toast. Bacon fried in a nearby electric skillet, the kind that sat on the counter and plugged into the wall. It had a little black dial to adjust the temperature. Taking a hurried swig of her coffee, she reached over to adjust the bacon with a fork.
The girl’s little brother was downstairs in the toy room. He would lose himself and sit for hours drawing meticulous dragons and warriors, creating entire worlds for himself that he would narrate as he drew. She loved to sneak down the stairs and listen to him on occasion.
She uncrossed her legs as she heard him run up the stairs and into the kitchen, making loud sound effects from the battleground that he still carried with him. He had a long, messy bowl cut, no shirt, and iron-on patches in the knees of his pants. One unmatched tube sock was flapping halfway off one foot as he slid across the floor with a wildly innocent laugh, breaking her trance, and she laughed back as he spun her chair around, and around, and around.
This was a happy morning.