Perfect American Family
Author's note: What inspired me to write this was everything my family went through, no matter how light the... Show full author's note »
Back From the SeaI was cooking lunch for my two kids, Coralina and Eugene. I made mashed potatos with old, stinky fish I got at the market.
"Mother, I want whale meat." Eugene complained.
"Your father is out hunting for it." I said.
"He's been out for months!" Coralina shouted at me.
"We're expecting him late today or tomorrow, remember?" I asked them.
"Right, but, I am sick of eating fish and potatos." Eugene said.
"But I make a variety of potato dishes." I protected myself.
"Fried, baked, mashed... They're still potatos mother." Coralina exclaimed.
"Please just wait until tomorrow." I pleaded.
The children kept quiet, for now. I hoped my husband was still alive and would bring a large amount of meat to us so it would last. I would be sad when he left again. I missed him a great amount when he was gone, and I never knew if he would come back.
I went to bed worried and the kids, too, looked a bit worried.
"I brought home breakfast." My husbands voice awoke me.
"Thank god you're back!" I said to him.
"I didn't catch a whale, though."
"Then why did you tell me that you brought breakfast then?" I asked.
"I brought you a dolphin and a tuna fish."
"That's fine, but the children won't be too happy."
"I know, I told them."
"They said it's okay as long as I'm okay."
I got up and dressed. I made a tuna mix and baked some bread for it. We ate and as we ate the children looked at their food displeased.
"I know it's not whale but you're father worked hard for it." I told them.
"We've been having fish for months." Eugene said.
"I know I apologize." My husband, Auster, said, "There was a storm keeping us away from the feeding areas of the whales."
"And he was lucky enough to find a healthy dolphin and catch it." I said.
"We're sorry. We should be quiet, and also it's tuna, not any old trout." Coralina said.
We all quieted and ate. When we finished we went outside to the ocean bay and cleaned our plates. I was, after months of waiting for good food, full. I was rejoiced to have my husband back, but he would leave again, and soon. I had to admit I wanted to have real whale meat.
"Coralina, can you go fetch some water from the well?" I asked her.
"Why? Are we out?" She asked worried.
"No, but I heard Uncle Charles is only charging one cent per gallon while Aunt Mildred is charging three which is as much as a trout!"
"So, you want to get extra water?"
"Yes, and we are almost out."
She went to get more water.
"Auster, I am afraid we have gone broke." I said.
"What?" He asked in disbelief.
"We must be careful with what and where we purchase items."
"You don't work anymore."
"I fish whales."
"Yes, and for that we should be rolling in golden coins, but... we are not, because that's what you feed us."
"You want to starve and have money?"
"Or we don't starve and don't have money. With the money it pays us we could buy food."
"Alright, how much would they pay for a dolphin?"
"I think that if you sell it today because it's fresh it would be a dollar, if you sell it tomorrow, eighty two cents."
"I noticed a wealthy man, that had not caught anything on his journey in the waters. He'd be happy to buy my dolphin."
"Go find him and get the money!" I shouted.
He left to the market in the port. It was getting late and Coralina still wasn't back. I was afraid she might have fallen in the well so I told Eugene that I was leaving and if her father came back before me to tell him where I was headed.