Sheila rubbed the sleep from her eyes as she searched his bedroom and the bathroom for her young son. Today was his eighth birthday and the first without his father. Jackson left them six months ago, saying that he had found someone else.
Sheila waited for the cover of nightfall to allow her sadness to soak her pillow with tears. She worried about Louie. His life had to stay as normal as possible.
Descending the stairs, Sheila checked each room until finally locating him in the kitchen. She hid just out of view and watched.
Louie dragged a chair from the table and positioned it in front of the counter. He climbed the chair, being careful not to tip it in the process. On bare tiptoes, he reached into the cabinet and retrieved a loaf of bread. He maintained a firm grasp on his find and settled his feet squarely back on the chair.
He stared at the ground. Sheila was puzzled by this. She came close to revealing her position when Louie decided to go airborne and flew off the chair in a flash. He doubled over with laughter.
Placing the bread on the kitchen table, he opened the twist tie. Louie carried four slices of bread over to the counter. As careful as before, he climbed onto the chair in front of the toaster. Louie dropped each slice in a slot. He pushed down the two white levers. Sheila covered her mouth to stifle her amazement. Louie was growing up.
He climbed off the chair backwards and walked over to the refrigerator. Louie disappeared behind the opened door. He reemerged carrying a tub of margarine. Visiting the refrigerator again, he delivered a jar of grape jelly to the table.
The smell of toasted bread wafted through the room. Louie stared at the toaster willing the bread to come out. As if on command, the toast popped up. Louie stacked them on the counter before picking them up. He decided to jump off the chair again and one of his slices landed on the floor. Sheila smiled. She was glad she took the time to mop the floor the previous night.
Louie blew on the fallen slice and proceeded to the table. Sheila kept the table set at all times because it looked nicer that way. Louie put the toast on a dinner plate. He picked up a knife and dug it into the tub of margarine. Sheila cringed with each stab. Giant hunks of margarine were carved out and dropped on each slice. The layer of margarine was almost as thick as the toast itself.
Louie took the same knife and dipped it into the jelly jar. His hand was still small enough to fit completely into the jar. The level of jelly was too low to reach successfully with the knife so he removed the sticky utensil and turned the jar upside down over the toast. Louie moved the jar from slice to slice as the globs of jelly oozed from the jar. Picking up the knife, he spread the jelly on top of the margarine.
He relaxed in the chair and picked up a piece of toast. Sinking his teeth into the tasty tidbit, Louie took his time chewing. He let out a sigh of satisfaction.
Sheila felt this was her cue to enter the scene.
“Good morning and happy birthday, darling.” She kissed him on his forehead.
Looking into his eyes filled her with a mixture of joy and sadness. How he reminded her of Jackson! Louie took two of the slices and slid them on the plate in front of his mother.
“I made my own breakfast. Will you eat it with me?”
Sheila smiled. “Yes.”
“There is one condition.”
“What’s that?” she asked.
“Can I make my birthday wish early?”
Sheila crossed her arms in mock protest. “It’s highly irregular, but I guess it will be okay.”
Louie closed his eyes. “Lord, I wish that my mom would stop crying herself to sleep at night because my dad left. Let her know we will be alright.”
Sheila nodded in agreement. She sunk her teeth into Louie’s breakfast creation. Today, love and satisfaction had been found in a young boy’s butter and jelly toast.
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