All families have one outstanding trait about them. Some are renowned for their kindness and warmth, others for generational wealth, and some yet still for their cruelty. Think about your own family, Reader. Are you all jokers? Given to academics, perhaps? No doubt there are values that your parents and grandparents instilled in your lineage that carries on today.
In the short time that Annabelle had lived with the Rajwanis, there was one trait that was pervasive in every member of that family – and that was laziness.
Annabelle gave a good hard look at the kitchen for the first time since she’d been living with the family. The area was primarily Anitha’s domain, since she did all the cooking for the family. The kitchen wasn’t dirty, but it wasn’t clean either. It was in need of organization, and a closer look at the counter tops revealed long abandoned spices in nooks and corners that had changed the color of the grout.
Anitha was giving Annabelle instructions on what she would like to see done in the kitchen.
“Could you see to it that those plates are washed and organize the pantry?” she droned.
Annabelle nodded absently. Something was compelling her to open the oven to take a look inside. Unable to ignore the urge, she opened the latch. She paused before asking Anitha for clarification on what she was seeing.
“Anitha…is there a reason all these pots and pans are stacked in the oven?”
“Yes. My husband – when he cooks his eggs – he puts his used pans in the oven.”
Annabelle was speechless. The pans looked as though they’d been there for veritable weeks. There was a spatula and a few spoons, all with hardened egg binding to the wood and metal utensils. Annabelle closed her eyes and took a calming breath. When she opened them, she noted that the dishwasher was literally right next to the oven. It would take just as much effort to put the items in the dishwasher as it would to put them in the oven! What was wrong with this man!
Anitha looked at her expectantly. That was Annabelle’s cue to begin loading the dishwasher, which she did with much irritation.
When she was finished, Anitha had produced about 50 pounds of bananas. She chirped on about how much potassium they had and how good they were for you.
“Serena loves them,” she smiled.
That’s also why the child’s turds are hard as a brick, Annabelle countered silently.
Annabelle picked up the yellow fruit and prepared to place it in the basket. To her alarm, there were already 15 or so bananas in the basket, many of them going bad.
“What do you want to do with these?” she asked Anitha.
“Oh, I’ll freeze them and make smoothies later. Can you just put them in a bag and then into the freezer for me?”
Annabelle had learned that Anitha was very particular about how things were done. She had already asked her to do, and then redo several tasks already because she was not clear on how she wanted to task carried out in the first place.
“Do you want me to peel them first, or just put them in with the skins on?”
Anitha thought for a moment.
“Just put them in with the peels on. We can take them off later. It’s just easier that way.”
Annabelle was stunned. Ignoring her employer, she peeled the bananas and then put them in a freezer bag. Everyone knows there are few things more frustrating than trying to peel a frozen banana. In fact, there were already a good number of the ice-covered corpses scattered about the freezer when Annabelle placed the fresh batch amongst them.
After the kitchen had been sufficiently cleaned, it was time to get back to her regular duties. She went to pick of Serena while Anitha ran around Atlanta and its environs, keeping herself occupied with busy rich woman work.
Later that evening Ravi joined them for dinner. He was back home after being away for the last two days. Anitha had insisted that Annabelle join them at the table for dinner, which would have been a kind gesture had she not been so eager to flee this band of people who were putting such a strain on her soul. Ravi barely said two words at dinner as Anitha chatted on about “important” things. Serena got up from the table without being excused, dropping her plate as she did so. She kept walking, ignoring the clatter of the platter she’d just throw down.
Finishing his meal, her father soon followed, stepping over his child’s plate as he made a beeline for the kitchen. Not being the most agile of men, he miscalculated the breadth of the dish, and caught his heel on the plastic princess plate. He slipped, and would have fallen belly-first in a massive heap onto the floor, had he not caught the back of a dining room chair. He glanced down at the object that nearly caused his demise. Since he was so close to the floor at that point, he decided to pick it up and place it in the sink with his own dish.
Annabelle chewed her saltless food, silently watching the lunacy unfold before her. The only thing missing was the popcorn.