When I was a little girl, my mom and I would go to the lake after school on Tuesdays. She’d pick me up from the bus stop before any of my older brothers got home from football practice, before my dad came home from his job at the Kleenex Ultra Soft tissue factory. We would spend an hour together feeding the ducks bread as we paced along the water. I would tell her about school, about how we learned about a civilization called Mesopotamia, and all the new multiplication tables that I could recite for her. She would ask me about the story I wrote about the seahorses that were astronauts and also princesses, and I would happily repeat the story for the fifth time that week. It was absolute bliss. I didn’t understand it at the time, but I look back now and realize how important it was to have one woman in my life who understood and cared for me.
Every Thursday night, after my father would come home from the Kleenex Ultra Soft tissue factory, he would take me to the local pizzeria for the weekly Kids’ Night. I’d always get the same thing: one slice of cheese pizza with green peppers on it. My father, on the other hand, wasn’t so consistent. He’d try a new type of pizza every week. Some weeks, he’d even let me choose. We didn’t talk like me and Mama did, and sometimes, I would wish that we did. But one time, when he thought I wasn’t listening, I heard him tell his coworker Phil (from the Kleenex Ultra Soft tissue factory) that he was proud of me for my story about the seahorses that were astronauts and also princesses winning a prize at school. I realized that I didn’t mind if we didn’t talk so much. He cared about me, whether he told me so or not.
The only time Mama ever missed a lake day was the day after I heard her and Papa get into a screaming match after dinner. When I walked home from the bus stop that afternoon, Jake and Charlie were home from football practice early. Papa was still at the Kleenex Ultra Soft tissue factory. Mama sat us down around the kitchen table and said, “Papa and I are getting a divorce.” She said, “We didn’t want you all to find out like this, but it means that Papa and I won’t fight so much anymore.” Jake stared down at the dining table. Charlie looked at me, but I wasn’t sure what was going on.
Later, I asked Charlie, What does the word “divorce” mean?
Jake pulled some tortilla chips out of the pantry.
Charlie said, “A divorce is when Mama and Papa decide they don’t want to be married anymore.”
Jake sprinkled some Kraft Four Cheese Mexican Blend on his tortilla chips.
I asked Charlie, “Do Mama and Papa love each other?”
Jake put the plate in the microwave, set the timer for thirty seconds, and slammed the microwave door shut.
Charlie sat down next to me, tousled my hair, and replied, “I don’t know the answer, Rosie.”
How to Make Microwave Nachos
- 8 ounces tortilla chips
- ½ cup Kraft Four Cheese Mexican Blend
- Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
- Evenly spread out 8 ounces of tortilla chips on a microwave-safe plate.
- Sprinkle ½ cup of Kraft Four Cheese Mexican Blend over the chips.
- Sprinkle crushed red pepper flakes over the chips.
- Cook in the microwave for thirty seconds. Allow dish to rest for thirty seconds. Enjoy!