The Meal

It was almost evening. She was frantically running around the house. There was so much left to do and they would be here any minute now. An aroma of rich spices wafted from the kitchen. She hurried in and opened one of the pots on the stove. Giving it a stir, she tasted some of the delicious stew, one of the many dishes she was cooking. ‘Needs more seasoning…’ she thought to herself and opened her ancient spice cabinet that held the most heavenly blends one could think of. Adding some seasoning, she then went about setting the table. She took the lace tablecloth and spread it over the dark ebony tabletop. She had picked some fresh flowers from the garden earlier and they adorned the crystal vase. They still had some drops of dew on them. She set the plates and stood back to admire the beautiful dining room.

Outside the white house, the sun shone against the ivory white walls and glass panes. The hedges were pruned and the red, orange and pink geraniums never looked happier in their pots. The garden smelt of wet earth and sweet flowers. A stone path from the white gate led to the big oak door that was slightly ajar…

Inside the white house lights were turned on and she was in her room getting ready. She chose a pastel patterned dress that she thought looked perfect and a peach coloured sweater over it. Adjusting her beaded bracelets, she stood back and looked at herself in the mirror. The wrinkles on her skin had many stories beneath them. The smile on her face reflected in her kind eyes. Her silver gray hair was worn in a bun with grace.

She was ready when the doorbell rang. Pressing down her dress to remove any creases, she walked to the door and welcomed them.

“Ma, you left the door open again,” her son said, smiling at her.

“I was busy preparing your favourite food, it must have slipped my mind,” she chuckled.

Her daughter gave her a peck on her cheek and said, “So good to see you ma,” and handed her a bunch fresh lilies.

“I’ll get a vase for these.”

Soon there were bright faces coming in through the door– little kids scrambling inside and immediately starting their play and elder ones greeting and telling her about their journey. It was a lively sight. Her eyes twinkled; they were here!

Sounds of tinkling glasses and cutlery filled the hallway. Dishes laden with food were brought to the table. Chairs were pulled back as everyone made themselves comfortable, and the meal she had been preparing for all afternoon began. The chatter, the laughter in the room as siblings shared stories of their lives, now in different places was a delight to her ears. Her bright eyed, naughty grandchildren had requests and complaints, all ready for her to attend to. “It was a beautiful meal, I am so glad they are here,” she thought to herself. After the meal, they settled in the cozy living room to relax and chat.

The setting sun filtered through the translucent blinds, giving the room a soft orange glow. An occasional bird chirped in the garden and as their tradition went, tea was brought to the centre table. She listened to her children talk and her grandchildren squeal in joy as they brought out their toys to play. Her granddaughter brought out her little lamb and placed it in her lap.

“Grandma, Snuggles wants to sit with you.”

The setting sun almost disappeared behind the horizon. She gazed at the shadowy silhouettes swaying gently outside the window. “I am so glad they are here,” she thought to herself. There was a lull in the familiar voices and sounds that were music to her, and a kind of calm began to set in.

The grip on her grandchild’s soft toy loosened. Snuggles fell off Edith’s lap and she closed her eyes, drifting into the most peaceful sleep, so glad that they were here.

This story is written as part of Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa campaign.

60 Comments Add yours

  1. Mayuri6 says:

    So beautifully written, Leha. The end took me by surprise I must say! Keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      So glad you liked it 🙂

      Like

      1. Leha says:

        Thank you!

        Like

  2. Jyoti Jha says:

    Such a heartwarming tale. The plight of the elderly, drifting families and the longingness to be around loved ones! All so beautifully penned. The end was quite a stirrer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Thanks Jyoti, for your kind words 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pallavi says:

    Ma’am I have read all your write ups, It’s not only interesting but also teach a lot and so relatable to life. And this one is just incredibly amazing keep writing Ma’am looking forward to read more.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Shobha Massey says:

    The story reminded me of my mother and my brother whom she loved till her last breath. She looked forward with such fervency when his daughter was expected to visit with her. Leha, you are so gifted in penning deep emotions. Keep writing. Loved reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Thanks so much!

      Like

  5. ghazala786 says:

    Beautifully penned and it’s heart touching too 🙂
    The end was surprising.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Matheikal says:

    Your story captures the essential beauty of relationships.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Modern Gypsy says:

    This is so beautifully written, Leha. The emotions, the warmth…and the ending was a bit of a surprise. I’m wondering if she dreamt it all….and I’m hoping not!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Thanks Shinjini, I like your interpretation 🙂

      Like

  8. This is so beautiful Leha, the essense of the emotions is so beautifully conveyed ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Thank you, Gunjan

      Like

  9. Ninu Nair says:

    Oh, the spice cabinet with heavenly blends! This is such a beautifully written piece and I kept going back to the last paragraph…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      She must have been a great cook, thanks Ninu 🙂

      Like

  10. Manas Mukul says:

    What better than a life full of content and satisfaction that leads one into the most peaceful sleep. Liked your storytelling. Keep the heartwarming going. Best wishes.

    #MyFriendAlexa #ContemplationOfaJoker #Jokerophilia

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Satisfaction and a happy sleep, true. Thanks Manas.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s such a heart touching tale. Really enjoyed reading it throughout. Loved the way you have penned

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sweetannu says:

    A beautiful story !! Loved the way you write, one sentence flows into another keeping the reader so engrossed and yearning for more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Thanks, Anahita 🙂

      Like

  13. Pr@Gun says:

    The first para itself took me to a visual house with aromatic spice, an ancient spice cabinet, laced table cloth, and fresh flowers. It’s written so beautifully that one can’t stop framing images. The elderly mom longing for kids to be home and how she felt contended to the core is all reflected in this tale.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Glad the story transferred you there Pragun 🙂

      Like

  14. Geethica says:

    Parents do miss their children and when they get to see them after so long, it makes them content and happy to live anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      So true Geethica!

      Like

  15. What a heartwarming story! The comfort of being with one’s family is unparalleled. the longingness of the elderly is deeply felt in your post. This is a norm due to individualism and the way families are being distant from closer ties. Loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      So true! The bond is much needed.

      Like

  16. Ritu says:

    Such a heart warming read, Leha. Beautifully penned. The plight and reality of the elderly and disconnected families.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Thanks, Ritu 🙂

      Like

  17. Shalzz says:

    Oh, the ending broke my heart! But I loooooved your writing style. So vivid and beautiful Keep going, Leha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Mine too! But glad she had her family around. Thanks Shalini:)

      Like

  18. Poonam says:

    The end gave me chills. Sad but who wouldn’t want such peaceful sleep surrounded with loved ones.
    Excellent STORYTELLING Leha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Yes, sad and happy too, thanks Poonam.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Ruchi says:

    You write so beautifully. one just gets transported to your story land. Her feelings are so palpable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Glad the feelings I tried to capture reached you Ruchi:)

      Like

  20. Leha , you have crafted the story so well and end was so surprising.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      So happy you liked it !

      Like

  21. Don says:

    Such a tender story, filled with so many emotions, happiness, sadness, longing… just so beautiful. To be honest, I kept thinking, “Something’s going to happen. The door’s left open. There are shadows at the windows. There’s a little lamb… “.
    I think I need to read fewer horror stories! And yes, that indeed left me surprised, with a nice, warm feeling inside.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Hahaha, that would have been a different twist, altogether!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Don says:

        Yeah… but again, quite expectedly unexpected!

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Dr.Amrita Basu says:

    I was totally drawn into the beautiful descriptions.Being surrounded by loved ones is a blessing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      It is indeed, one of the best blessings, thanks Amrita.

      Like

  23. Thats a very smooth read, I loved the ending! Cant wait to read your next

    Like

  24. Damn! I want my family around me the whole time even if they are super annoying at times! What a beautiful story Leha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Hahah, thank you:)

      Like

  25. Tulika says:

    That was such a wonderfully warm and evocative piece. The end came as a bit of surprise but I guess that’s the best way to go – surrounded by family.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Oh my my. Such a beautiful story told beautifully.
    Leha you have a gift of story telling. Your descriptions and the way you carry the reader along is lovely.
    Do carry on with what you’re doing so well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Thanks so much Radhika:)

      Like

  27. jayanthi6 says:

    Beautifully written Leha and a poignant ending….

    Like

  28. Doctor mommy says:

    You clearly have a knack for writing. I was hooked right till the end. Loved the narration

    Liked by 1 person

  29. aktal2012 says:

    Your vivid imagination transported me to those lovely serene surroundings. Every human being wishes to be in the company of loved ones and just loved the way you penned down the story straight from the heart

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Oh yes, the company of loved ones is incomparable, thanks a lot for sharing your views.

      Like

  30. shail says:

    Such a beautiful story of relations and longings of the elderly. Often the elderly are left alone with just the memories of their children and grandchildren. It is indeed sad as was your ending.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Aarti says:

    Beautiful! I am so glad they were there…

    Liked by 1 person

  32. pratikshya2 says:

    So touched… we somehow leave elders so out of equation of our lives.. so busy we have become.. sad..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Yes, but we can surely change 🙂

      Like

  33. What a lovely short story. Did not expect that ending. Goes to show just how much our elders/ parents want us kids around them. They just love us so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. A warm story that stirred so many emotions. Starting with food that is the reason as in lunch or dinner that families usually meet up for. The door open, the shadows, cutlery… Amazing and felt so close to home!

    Like

  35. Geri Lawhon says:

    Such a superb short story, thank you for posting it.

    Like

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