Asteroid

“It is a high probability that this mass of rock is going to come in contact with the Earth. We’re pretty sure it is going to happen, but what we’re unsure of is the timing. The when.”

The television blared the latest doomsday news. I sat, cross-legged on the floor, reading a paperback. It was going to be a good day. Ian had just asked Suzy to the dance on Saturday, so she and mom were over-the-moon, and that meant I could be left alone to read.

I got distracted by the book, and a few hours passed. When I looked up, it was starting to get dark. I stretched and slowly stood, wondering whether I was going to heat up some mac and cheese or have the freezer lasagna I was eyeing all week.

The television was still blaring, so I went into the kitchen and turned it down. “Hey, I was listening to that, Kat.” My father called from the living room.

“Then come in here and listen or at least take it in there with you.” I argued back.

He sighed and I heard the creaky old couch as he stood. He muttered something under his breath that I couldn’t hear so I plastered a smile on my face and watched the door.

“Hello, Dad.” I smiled when he came through the door.

“Hey, Kat,” he said a little more softly. I knew how to get to him before he got all gruff, unlike Suzy who made him more gruff most of the time.

“Whatchya doin’ in here?”

“Making dinner. Want some?”

“What are you making?”

“Mac and cheese.”

“Again? I swear that’s all you ever eat Kat.”

“It’s addicting.”

He looked out the window. “I remember the days your mom used to cook. Back when you and Suzy were little.” He smiled wistfully at me.

“More than just freezer meals?” I asked. I had no recollection of her cooking. None.

“She’d make her own lasagna. And pizza. Shepherd’s pie. Chicken pot pie. Yum. Those were my favorite, her chicken pot pies.”

“Why’d she stop?”

“Work got too busy. When she got really stressed, she’d switch to baking. Brownies, cakes, cookies, pies. I swear I gained twenty pounds in the first three years of her working.”

“Why don’t I remember this?”

“You were too little. I think you were four when she stopped.”

“Why’d she stop?”

“She found exercise instead. Became a work-out-aholic. It eased her stress and made her feel good. So she stopped baking.”

He stood at the window. The microwave beeped, but I didn’t make any move to get it. We stood in silence for what seemed like an eternity but the clock on the stove told me it was only four minutes.

“What’s going to happen, Dad? Um, you know, when the rock hits earth?”

He looked at me, tears in his eyes. “I have no idea, Kat. No idea.”

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