Lucy sat at the worn wooden table watching her aunt slice tomatoes. The methodical back and forth was mesmerizing, as the silky skin of the fruit gave way to the finely sharpened blade. Always the sharpest knife, her mother had always recited, or you might as well be slicing them with a mallet.
“Did your mother ever tell you how she and I used to try to predict your future?”
Startled by her aunt’s simultaneous thought of Lucy’s mother, Lucy jumps a bit. “Huh?”
“Well, not really predict, just kind of speculate a little. You know, about what kind of job you’d have, how your love life would turn out.” A graying wisp of chestnut hair flutters to her aunt’s forehead and she shoved it aside with the back of her hand, her fingers dripping with tomato innards.
“I’m sure that was a colorful conversation on my mother’s part,” Lucy scoff, settling herself back down in her chair.
“I always thought you’d marry a musician or an artist, but your mother always predicted something more…tumultuous.” Her aunt chooses this word as kindness. Lucy has no doubt her mother had shown no such gentleness in her damning of Lucy’s future prospects.
“Well, she would know.” Lucy tried to keep her voice bright, the education you do when you look for the good in the dead, even though there was no good to be found while they lived.
Her aunt sets the knife doubt and gives Lucy one clean, Sharp look, slicing through her like a ripe tomato.
“Your mother raise you the way she should have, Luce, but she was sick. She couldn’t-“
“I know!” Lucy snaps. “I’m not throwing a pity party, I know-“
“Now let me finish!” Lucy can recall maybe four other occasions when her aunt raised her voice, so she is instantly silenced. “Your mother was sick, but it wasn’t catching. You are not broken.” She moves to the table and grabs Lucy’s ARM in one slushy vice. “And it’s time to stop making excuses.”