The crisis with the spider averted, the group heads to dinner in the fellowship hall where the church ladies have set up a veritable feast. The food is, predictably, Mexican. Though Maddie thinks it looks delicious, Claire and her cronies aren’t so sure.
Claire and her friends wandered along the buffet line, eyeing the food suspiciously.
“Do you have anything—American?” Claire asked one of the women.
The woman was so surprised, she said nothing for a moment. Turning to her companions, she spoke rapidly in Spanish. Claire frowned, obviously not understanding.
Maddie watched the exchange. With Mexican grandparents on her mother’s side, she was fluent and knew exactly what the women were saying. Something extremely uncomplimentary about the dumb blonde.
“This is it,” the first woman said. “Our food isn’t good enough for you?” She folded her arms over her ample chest, glaring at Claire.
“I just don’t know what any of it is,” Claire replied, actually figuring out she’d insulted the woman. “I don’t eat Mexican at home. Our cook always fixes American food.”
“You got a Mexican cook?” the woman asked her.
“Of course, who else would fix the meals?”
The women exchanged another look of disgust. “I hope she poisons you,” the woman said in Spanish. The others laughed.
Maddie approached the table, speaking politely to the women as she served herself. “That’s enchiladas,” she explained to Jane, but ignoring Claire. “That is pallea, a dish with chicken, rice and vegetables. Sometimes seafood.” She continued to explain the various foods, giving a brief description of each. “It’s really good. Just take a little bit of everything and see what you like. Then you can come back for seconds.”
“Thanks,” Jane said with a slight smile. “That’s really nice of you.” She took Maddie’s advice and put small amounts of everything on her plate.
“You speak Spanish well,” one of the ladies said in that language.
“My grandparents are from La Paz. I’ve been a few times to visit relatives.”
“They taught you well. Do you cook?” She switched to English.
“Mom has tried. Honestly, I do better with pasta. Dad’s half Italian and half Irish.”
The women nodded, smiling. You ask your abuela to teach you,” one woman told her. “She can tell you so you remember.”
“I will. Thank you. The food smells delicious.”
“Go eat before it gets cold.” They shooed her away.
“I didn’t know you spoke Spanish,” Clayton said.
“You didn’t ask.” She smirked, tossing her hair.
“Ya think ya know a person,” he said in a distinctive New York accent. His family was originally from Brooklyn.
“And I didn’t know you spoke Yankee,” Brad let his native Texas accent show.
“We can’t all be wonderful and born in Nebraska,” Patti said, tossing her head.
The others laughed at her exaggerated accent. She really piled on the nasal, pinched quality so many of their contemporaries had.
© 2015 Dellani Oakes