The aroma lit up the living room, filling each of their noses with a mix of savory odors and mouthwatering sensations.
The meal sat before them, ready. They sat next to each other, ready.
Sylvia sat next to momma, she prayed for the promotion.
Johnny sat across from her, he prayed for new video games.
Tonya sat next to him, she prayed for a peaceful dinner this year.
Across from her sat Donnie, he prayed for the health of his dog.
Next to him sat Bonnie, she prayed for her husband’s safe arrival.
Across from her sat Alice, she prayed for dinner to end quickly, cartoons were on.
Next to her and Bonnie was the empty chair. Across from the chair was momma. She sat next to Sylvia and Johnny. Momma’s prayer was shortest of all, a simple “thank you.” For she was with family on this day, a very special one, the one day of the year they could all be together.
Sitting across from the empty chair used to make momma sad but not anymore. She also didn’t pray for him anymore. He'd be in a better place now than he was before leaving. Tears of the present would touch her lips forcing smiles of recollection.
“Amen,” said momma. She looked up at her family.
“Amen,” they repeated, almost together, the little ones were a bit behind.
“Everything looks good,” said someone.
“Sure does,” said another.
Momma looked at the chair, then away from it and smiled at everyone there.
“Well, what are we waiting for?" she said. "Let’s eat!”
Rickey Rivers Jr (he/him/his) was born and raised in Alabama. He is a writer and cancer survivor. His work has appeared in The Gray Sisters, JJ Outre Review, Hybrid Fiction (among other publications). https://storiesyoumightlike.wordpress.com You may find something you like there. Twitter.com/storiesyoumight Mini chap books are available here: https://payhip.com/StoriesYouMightLike