Alana jumped at the sink as the front door slammed shut. The sudden noise startled her from the revere of washing up. She had been lulled into a foggy, relaxed state while she had cooked and cleaned the kitchen. Domestic work always had that type of effect on her, even when she had the job as a house cleaner in the bustling cities of the north.
Alana’s mind had cleared of all thoughts as she chopped scrimp, onions, celery, chicken, and ham, placing it all into the crock-pot with some bay leaves and potatoes. All of it was necessary for her version of jambalaya, for everything she added to the mixture was something Alana enjoyed eating very much. After preparing everything else for the dinner, she added the rice to the pot and set it to cooking.
After dinner had been set to cook, Alana donned a pair of bright canary yellow gloves and ran the hot water. She added soap to a scrubber and set to work cleaning the dishes she had used in preparation for cooking. As Samuel entered the kitchen, he saw Alana standing there, her hands in the sink, and bubbles covering her gloves the entire length up her forearms. She smiled at him and rinsed off the cutting board, pushing the handle of the faucet to the off position before placing the cutting board on the rack to dry. To him she looked completely in her element, her hair tied up in a bun and a smile on her kind face.
“Is something the matter Sam? It sounded like that door closed pretty violently.” Alana peered at him through her bangs: they acted as a dark auburn veil that hid her eyes from the world. She could tell that Samuel was a bit tense and wondered if it had something to do with the topic he had discussed with Mr. Jenkins earlier that day. Being troubled was something that was very uncharacteristic of him, and that concerned Alana. As Samuel saw the care for him that Alana had, he smiled and tried relaxing his stance more. The last thing he wanted her to be was worried about him. In all reality, she should be more concerned for herself.
He placed an oven mitt over his hand and carefully lifted the crock-pot’s lid releasing a fountain of hot steam into the air. After the steam settled a bit, Samuel lowered his face and breathed in the sweet and spicy aroma of their dinner. Setting the cover back over the pot, he turned to Alana with a big grin. “You’ve outdone yourself again Alana! Dinner smells lovely!”
She smiled at him and slowly pulled off her rubber gloves. “Why thank you Sam, you know you can be a great help if you’d set the table for me.” Alana smiled and took the oven mitt from him, reaching up to the cabinet and grabbing down a serving dish. She then dished out the jambalaya for the meal and set it on the table. As she did that, Samuel fetched the cups and plates, along with spoons for the two of them. He sat down after he finished, allowing Alana to fill his cup from the pitcher of sweet tea. Soon after filling her own cup, Alana sat down as well and said grace.