It was a matter of survival that drew me to the kitchen. Despite my apprehension I knew I was the only one here qualified and equipped for completing this mission. I relied on my deep breathing exercises to slow my heart rate in preparation for what I might find and what I must do.
I entered the room and quickly took in my surroundings. The room looked peaceful but I knew from past experience that looks can be deceiving. Flowers lined the dry sink in the corner. Bright green herbs grew on the windowsill. Countertops were clean and beautiful dishes were visible through the glass cabinet doors. Nothing appeared out of the ordinary yet the hair on the back of my neck stood on end. Letting my guard down for a moment could mean the end for all of us.
I approached the range. I reached for the front knob and slowly turned it counter clockwise. There was a click and blue flames encircled the burner. I let out a slow breath. I cautiously reached to open the cabinet door. Nothing inside moved. I reached in and grabbed a large pot, filled it with water, and placed it over the flame.
I crept towards the refrigerator. I stayed low running my hands around the seal of the machine ensuring there was no cold air being released around the doors. Everything appeared in order so I opened the door and removed the items I would need to complete my mission.
I turned around in time to see the curtain flutter around the window. Someone had left the window open. The flame on the range sputtered. I quickly raced to the window before all was lost. I firmly latched the window closed. For the first time fearing I was in too deep. I shook the fear from my mind and continued what I had started.
I gently cracked the pantry door and peered in. It was just as I had left it. I opened the door and removed the box I had placed in there earlier. I set it on the counter. I turned back to the range and saw the heat of the water had risen to the point of boiling. I picked up the box and very carefully emptied the contents into the pot. I knew it was now just a matter of time.
I watched and waited. Slowly the contents in the pot took form. Each minute of waiting seemed an eternity until finally a loud noise drew my attention. I immediately silenced the source of the noise and listened intently for any sign of disturbance. I heard none so I reached into the cabinet and removed my final item.
I was moments from completion and apprehension weighed down my every move. I gingerly carried the pot to the sink and extracted the water. I wiped my brow with the back of my hand. It was almost over.
Slowly and carefully I brought everything together. I closely examined every item and followed my instructions perfectly. There was no room for error. I made one final sweep of the room to be sure nothing had been missed or forgotten. All was in order. It was time for the final step.
I gently lifted the completed product and placed it on the table. I took a step back and let out the breath I had been holding. I turned back to the doorway from which I entered and quietly exited the room. They had no idea what they were in for. It would be the last thing they’d expect.
It was then that I heard the footsteps overhead. Quickly I slipped behind the door of the nearest room. My heart hammered over the sound of hushed voices drawing closer. I questioned whether I had made the right choice. Would I truly pull this off?
The door swung away from me. I took in a quick breath and looked down. There before me stood my daughter with wide eyes and a huge smile. “You made macaroni and cheese! That’s my favorite! You are the best mommy in the whole world!”
I scooped up my daughter and smiled. Mission LUNCH was a success. Would Mission DINNER succeed as well? Only time would tell.
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