Kate and Rob smile. I smile back. If we keep this up, my face will begin to hurt.I can still sense the their dull ache of grief and I begin to build the necessary walls to block out specific thoughts.
"Heather..." Kate bites her lower lip while trying to come up with something to say. "...you hungry?" Food! It's the universal balm for awkward moments.
"Sure." It's close to supper after all.
'All right then. Let's gather in the kitchen." Rob claps his hands together enthusiastically. 'My Kate makes the best meatloaf and mashed potatoes around these parts."
I shake my head at his obvious attempt at a south Texas accent. He's way off but I keep on smiling. If I can get through this one evening then I can slip out during the night and get away quick. I follow them into the kitchen. They have a large country kitchen with a massive table that looks like it was hand carve from one piece of wood. I must have had an admiring look on my face.
"You like it?" Rob grinned from ear to ear. "My Grandpappy made it when he built this farmhouse for his bride. The table was so large he had to build it inside the kitchen because there was no way he would be able to get it through the door or around any corners. He told his bride they were going to have to fill it with children." Rob was chuckling now. "You should have seen Grandmama's face back then. She use to recreate the look just for us to have a good laugh."
I start to chuckle after catching a glimpse of the image in his head. "Wow, she sure looked surprised." I froze as soon as I realized my obvious mistake.
"What was that?" Kate stopped pulling food out of the oven.
"She must have been so surprised." I Kate shrugged her shoulders and finished putting the dishes of food on the table while Rob nodded.
"She sure was."
It always amazes me how people will ignore the obvious if it doesn't match their current thinking. That's why I never worry too much about mistakes as long as they d0n't happen often. I sat down at the table. Rob and Kate took their seats.
"Go ahead and help yourself." Kate pointed at the food on the table. "We don't stand on ceremony here." I began dishing food onto my plate. I was ravenous, not having ate yet today; having been unable to get anything down before the funeral.
"So...school starts next week and we were thinking that you might like to meet some of your new classmates since you'll be changing schools." Rob looked over my head at a spot on the wall. "If you would like we could invite some of the local kids over for a party." They were trying so hard to make me feel welcome in their little community that I felt a twinge of guilt for my plans to get away.
"Um, yeah, sure, that would be nice." I shoved food into my mouth so I wouldn't have to say anything else.