* Abandoned Chores

car2Heather stretched languidly in bed, inhaling the aroma of fresh coffee wafting from the kitchen. She smiled, listening to her husband singing off-key to “American Pie.” He knew every word to all 20 plus verses. Up next would be a collection of Buddy Holly hits. His playlist was as predictable as Dan himself. 

Dan cracked the bedroom door to see if she was awake, then entered with a bed tray laden with a heaping plate, two steaming mugs and a vase with a daisy from their yard.

“Matzah Brei?!” Heather exclaimed. “It’s not my birthday. Did you buy the Tesla? Seriously, if you bought the Tesla, you’re taking it back.”

“Take it easy! I didn’t buy the Tesla. I just wanted to do something nice for you. Scoot over.”

They shared the stack of syrup-drenched fried matzah and sipped coffee.

“I know we’ve got a long to-do list around the house today,” Dan started. “But I’m thinking that we abandon the chores and go for a drive. Maybe take a picnic down the coast?”

“Who are you and what have you done with my husband?” laughed Heather. “Yes! I’m in!”

The little vintage Karmann Ghia hugged the curves of Highway 1 as they sped south. Dan liked to joke about buying a new car, but Heather knew he’d never sell his beloved “Gretchen.” Dan wasn’t one for change, which was fine with Heather. He might seem boring to some, but his stability was one of the things she loved most about him. They had married and now lived in the small town where he was born. She expected to raise their future children and retire here as well. It was a very good life.

They spread their blanket and laid out their feast on a secluded bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean just outside of Santa Cruz. They ate and napped in the sunshine, laughing and chatting happily. As the afternoon sun started to dip towards the horizon they packed up the car.

“I’ve got a crazy idea,” said Dan. “How about we play hooky tomorrow and check in to that cute little hotel we passed a few miles back? Drink champagne in a bubble bath, practice making babies?” He reached out to tickle her playfully.

“Daniel Stern, what has gotten into you?” Heather touched his arm.

Dan didn’t meet her eyes, looking down at his feet instead.

“Oh my God. You heard from the doctor! It’s Sunday, I didn’t think we’d hear anything until tomorrow. What did he say?”

Dan continued to look at the ground, saying “I got an email this morning. We knew it could be cancer. And it is. I have an appointment on Wednesday and we’ll go from there. But don’t worry; I’m sure I’ll be fine.”

Heather took his face in her hands. “Look at me. We’ve got this. For the next two days we’re going to forget about chores and work. You’ve got a lot of living left to do and we’re starting right now.”


Written for the To Live & Write in Alameda 2019 “Flash Lit February” Challenge #4. We had three days to write a poem or short story (of 500 words or less) or draw a piece of art to the theme “The Abandoned Chore” and submit. Challenge #5 will post on Feb. 15!

matzah brei

You might notice a link in the story … I’m adding my own stretch goal into each of these challenges by incorporating a link to one of my #TinyKitchen recipes posted on VivoOSonho.com in the storyline. This one is Nana Yetta’s Matzah Brei.

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