“You have to stop worrying,” Alice said, stirring a large picture of sweet tea at the kitchen counter.
“I know, but…” Lucy said.
“She’s a good girl, Lucy.”
“Every since her birthday, she has been acting really strange.” Lucy walked over to the stove and checked on her roasted chicken.
“You just need to relax. Here, taste this.” Alice said, handing her friend a cold glass of freshly brewed sweetened tea. Lucy took the glass and took a sip.
“Ummm…This is tasty!” Lucy exclaimed.
“You think so?”
“The stuff blue ribbons were made for.” Lucy set the empty glass on the counter and wiped her chin with a napkin.
The front door opened and slammed shut.
“Rachel…?” Lucy called out from the kitchen.
“Yes. I’m going to my room!” Lucy turned and looked at her friend with pain in her eyes.
“Come on. Let’s pray right now.”
Annie and Lucy held hands and stood in the kitchen to pray.
“Lord, please grant Rachel protection and wisdom in the things that she faces every day. Please allow the right timing for her to communicate with her family…” Annie prayed.
“Yes, Jesus.” Lynn said.
“…and Lord, please give my friend Lucy the ability to cut those apron strings. Amen.” Annie added.
“It sounds like my job here is done.”
Annie left the tea with Lucy and returned home to get her dinner started. Later, Lucy’s husband Joe walked in the door and gave her a big hug.
“It sure smells good in here. Tomorrow night, we are all going out for dinner.” He said tugging playfully at her favorite apron.
“That sounds good. What is the occasion?”
“I finally landed the Davis account.” He said, washing his hands.
“That’s great, honey.” She said,
handing him the chicken to carve.
Rachel joined them for dinner, but she was not in the mood for talking. Lucy just kept her mouth shut. Joe, observing his wife, just followed suit.
After dining on a light meal of rosemary roasted chicken, tossed salad with vinaigrette dressing and sweet tea, Rachel stood up to clear table and her parents just looked at her and smiled.
“Dinner was great, Mom.” She said.
“Thank you, honey.” Lucy replied.
Rachel entered the kitchen and put on the apron that her mom always wore. As she tied the strings behind her back, tears flowed down her face. She expected to get grilled by her parents about her behavior, but they didn’t ask her anything. Ironically, , as they ate in silence, it was the silence that was eating away at her. Suddenly, a
plate fell out of her hands and crashed against the vinyl floor. Her parents discovered her standing in the middle of the kitchen crying.
“Baby. What is wrong? Her mom asked.
“I lost my best friend this week.”
“Did something happen to Lisa?” Lucy asked.
“You could say that. I saw her smoking weed and kissing on some guy in the parking lot. When I told her that I didn’t want anything to do with drugs, she told me off.”
“What!” Her dad exclaimed.
“Yes. I still cannot believe that she actually screamed at me. I’ve known Lisa for four years and suddenly, I was talking to a stranger.”
“Oh honey. Lisa is just the first of friends coming in and out of your life. You met her in school but now, you can pick and choose your own friends.” Her mom said, keeping the advice short and to the point. She returned to the dining room.
Rachel finished the dishes and tried to take off the apron but it wouldn’t budge. As hard as she tugged at the strings, she couldn’t untangle the knot.
“Mom!” She called out. “I’m stuck!”
Her mom stifled a laugh when she saw her daughter tugging at her apron.
“The knot is too tight. We have to cut the strings off.”
“No. This is your favorite apron.”
“This old thing? I was looking for an excuse to get a new one. Now, hand me those scissors.”
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