Standing Room Only

A World of Short Stories

The Chef’s Request

“The chef has requested macaroni and cheese.  With ketchup.  And peas.”  My husband came in wearing his apron and rubbing his right temple.  I knew that meant he had a headache coming on, but wouldn’t say a word about it. 

“This is one of those times I am happy her birthday only comes around once a year.  Because ketchup on macaroni and cheese?”  I turned to the fridge and started searching out where the ketchup might me.  I was hoping our daughter would soon no longer have a taste for ketchup.  We were going through several bottles every month.  But if our picky eater would actually eat, I was all for it. 

When Ian didn’t respond, I glanced over my shoulder just to make sure he was still there.  He usually made jokes about the amount of ketchup Maddie ate, but today he was silent.  At first glance, I didn’t see him, but realized he had migrated to the window that looked over our acreage.  The horses grazed quietly in the shad of the large oak trees.  I knew the cows wouldn’t be far away hiding underneath one clump of trees or another. 

“Ian?  What’s wrong?” I gently laid my hand on his arm and he immediately started.  It wasn’t until he jumped that I saw the opened letter in his hand and wondered what was going on.  When he finally turned back to me, his face was white. 

“When were you going to tell me Maddie isn’t my daughter?” 

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