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Kitchen and Dining

From above, it's just one spec of land that was built on, surrounded by others from every direction. Descending down, the design reveals itself. It's old looking, definitely not modern and something the common person would call a "nice house." The external color is a basic cream with a tan accent, just like the other colors surrounding it. Trees with dead leaves that crunch when you step on them are scattered down the street and into the numerous driveways. Coming down even closer, you can see a bright, fiery red car turning onto the street. The car is headed to the house that my mother used to call ugly and bland, the one with the numbers "2284" printed onto the curb. Finally zooming into my perspective, I hop out of the car and hear the crunch of the leaves. As the front door opens and I'm greeted by my beloved Nana, I know that the beauty of this house lies within. 


Stepping inside, I wipe the slobber off my cheek from the wet kiss my Nana gave as I entered.  My Papa then comes into view, apologizing to my mom for watching the Cardinals game instead of getting up to greet us earlier. I can tell today is Sunday without looking at the calendar by his apology, but even more by the hypnotizing smell of tonight's dinner, with hints of garlic, onion, and basil. I know with one whiff that we'll be eating "Ronies," which is the perfect al dente pasta with the most indulging homemade tomato sauce. It's a classic for Sundays, and nobody ever complained. It had been my favorite meal ever since I could remember, as the abundance of flavor was always delicious. After the small talk that I can contribute to ended, my eyes dart around the kitchen that I have visited numerous times before. Small knick-knacks cover the tops of cabinets and shelves, some being figurines that say "World's Best Mom," "I Have A Gambling Problem," and "Master Chef Only Kitchen." The refrigerator is flooded with magnets from different places my grandparents had visited, my favorite ones being Jamaica and Mexico because of the bright, captivating reds, greens, blues, and yellows of the magnets. Moving towards the mini dining table, I sit in one of the corresponding chairs and automatically begin to drag my feet on the floor, making the chair and myself spin. I go on for what seems like only a second until I hear my mom yell that I'm going to crack my head open, and I'll be grounded if I don't stop. Because I don't want to upset her, I listen and turn the chair to face and look out the front window. There isn't much action outside, other than a few slow-driving cars or the occasional stroll of a stranger walking their dog. I can still see the boring colored houses and the lifeless looking trees. The weather is typical for an Arizona day, sunny with hardly any clouds, and you can practically feel the heat everywhere you find yourself.  The dullness almost consumes me, until I'm snapped out of the dazed state by my Nana calling me over to her, with the boringness fading away and the replacement of love and warmth.


After my Nana calls me over and once again graces me with a wet kiss on the cheek, she politely asks me to set the table for dinner. Knowing completing this task would likely end with a reward, I gladly agreed and hurried to get it done, heading to the dining room from the kitchen. There are fewer random knick-knacks in here, but I still notice family pictures and other little things scattered around. This is the room where every Sunday dinner took place, either if it was traditional "Ronies," a fancy roast, or just greasy cheese pizza with the crispiest fried zucchini. No matter the meal, different discussions about the past work week, football, or how amazing the food tasted was always common. My contributions to these discussions included the storytelling of the new girl in my class, sharing what was new on my wish list, and questioning if I could spend the night. It was a miracle when my parents let me sleep at their house, as I knew French Toast would be on the menu for breakfast. 


When the reminiscing about the times at the dinner table is over, I find the china cabinet that I was meant to be looking for which holds everything needed for dinner. As I open it and look around, it reminds me of a vintage store I visited with my aunt once, it shares the feeling of antique and delicateness. My eyes land on the crisp white plates embroidered with patters of small roses and leaf vines along the edges. I know just by looking at them that they are valuable, and when I actually grasp them in my two hands, I'm sure to protect them. The glasses also in the cabinet share the same design, and even the silverware is outlined with the pattern. Before putting everything I had just acquired onto the table and organizing to make it look pretty, I grab the tablecloth that my Nana always had to remind me to get. Even though the tablecloth does not share the same designs as the dinnerware, the light beige color of the fabric compliments the bright plates and allows everything on the table to become cohesive. As it flutters into the room like a kite or butterfly, I spread it across the table to ensure every inch of it is covered from possible food crumbs or drink spills. Putting on my final touches, I call my Nana in to make sure I did everything right, including folding the silky and soft napkins to the right of the plate instead of to the left. Nana comes in and shares that the table is beautiful, and because I was such a great helper, I get extra crumb cake for dessert. With that news, my smile instantly grows and brightens, and Nana pulls me into another hug. She squeezes me as tight as possible and as her arms wrap around me even tighter and tighter, I can feel the love pouring out of her, and also pouring out of me. This love is not just felt in the embrace between my Nana and I, but in every part of her and my Papa's kitchen and dining room.




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