“No, no no no no not today.” Imara ran to the oven from the far end of the kitchen holding the phone against her ear.
“Well, I told her that I don’t want to go to church with her but she never listens to anything I say anyway.”
Imara nodded her head as though her cousin Sabrina could see her. “Uh huh”, she said, to let Sabrina know she was still paying attention.
Reaching the double oven, she pulled it open and was greeted by the aroma of crispy cheese on her baked ziti. “Shit”, she muttered under her breath, imagining the dramatics she would have to deal with if she tried to serve the dish at the event this afternoon.
“Sweetie, I’m going to have to call you back. I’ve got a little problem to take care of right now, okay?”
Sabrina chuckled. “Sweetie is my mom, but okay, I’ll let you go. Are you sure everything is okay? Anything on fire?” She laughed in the interim while waiting for Imara to hear what she actually said. It was amusing to think that Imara could have actually set anything on fire or created anything less than delicious in her catering kitchen. Everyone in the family relied on Imara for her beautiful cakes and pies during holidays, always beautifully yet simply, decorated with that extra little something in every bite.
The corner of Imara’s mouth turned up in a reasonable facsimile of a smile at her cousin’s quip. She massaged her left eyebrow with one hand while gesturing towards the large tray of ziti on the counter with the other. “No, nothings on fire, very funny. A little crispy around the edges maybe, but no flames. Still, I better go, I may have to whip up another tray of ziti for the Baker party tonight though.”
“Okay, but can we expect you at the house tomorrow for dinner?”
They both laughed, knowing what Imara’s answer would be.
“No, I’m going to pass, I have some reading I want to do tomorrow night.”
“Okay, but you are the only woman I know who makes a date with herself to read. Bye.”
Imara placed the phone on the shelf below the stainless steel countertop and turned her attention to the ziti. Who had baked ziti in the middle of summer anyway? Ms. Baker loved ordering off menu, thinking with her stomach rather than her head, even when it meant serving her guests a heavy pasta dish in the heat of August.
“Huh, that’s funny, I thought it was more burnt than that,” she said aloud. The ziti that she thought was too browned and crispy around the edges when she’d removed it from the oven looked practically perfect now.
“Talking to yourself is the first sign.”
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