“Who’s song is this?” Joy asked as she walked into the kitchen.
“M&M’S,” he replied.
Joy looked sympathetically at her husband poring over their bills splayed out on the kitchen table.
How many are unpaid?” she asked.
“Mounds,” he replied. “We really need a payday, bar none.”
“That would be a lifesaver,” she said. “What would it take?”
“What do we have left in savings?” she asked tentatively.
“Zero,” he said.
“Oh, Henry,” she said with a sigh. “I guess we won’t be able to afford to go to the symphony to see Reese’s performance, after all.”
“I’m sure your brother will understand.”
She walked over and picked through the mixed nuts on the counter. After picking out an almond, Joy dropped it on the floor.
“Butterfingers,” she said to herself.
She looked around for it, and then heard a crunch as she stepped on it. She cleaned up her mess and then heard little baby Ruth laugh.
Their daughter was pointing at their kitten, Rolo, and squealed, “Kit kat does funny twix!” and started giggling. The kitten skittles across the kitchen floor, and into the living room.
“I love when she snickers,” Joy said, smiling as she walked toward the high chair.
She tenderly lifted their daughter out of her chair and swayed with her as they walked toward the kitchen table.
“She’s ready for bed. Hugs and kisses,” she said as she leaned down to let her father say good-night.
“Blow Pop a kiss,” he requested.
Ruth mimed the action and then gave her father a hug. After putting the baby to bed, Joy slowly strolled back down the hallway toward the kitchen, stopping to look at a photo of their family.
“The 3 musketeers,” she mused lovingly.
As she entered the kitchen, she saw that her husband was still staring hopelessly at the pile of bills. She stood behind him and started rubbing his shoulders. She could see one of the letters that read:
Mr. Goodbar, Our records indicate that you are 3 months behind on your mortgage payment, etcetera… Sincerely, Heath Clark, 5th Avenue, Hershey, Pennsylvania.
“It’s a rocky road,” he said.
“Let’s take 5 and go sit outside for a bit,” Joy suggested. “Come on, slo poke.”
They went out and sat together on the porch swing, gazing up at the stars.
“I love looking at the, umm… whatchamacallit?”
“Milky way?” Henry suggested.
“Yeah, that’s it,” she confirmed. “I’m such a dum-dum. You can see so many of them tonight. It looks like a Starburst. I think I can even see Mars.”
They sat quietly for a while, and then. Joy said, “We may have bills and they may be some whoppers, but no matter what, we’ve got good and plenty.”
“Yeah,” Henry agreed. “We’ll always be happy farmers–jolly ranchers–now and later, always and forever.”
Copyright © 2020 Brandon Ellrich
How many brands of candy did you see?