Alexandra watched her mother peer out the window from behind the homemade daily yellow curtains. The smell of delicious chocolate cake baking in the oven was a stark contrast to the pinched look on her mother’s face.
Concocting delicious desserts usually put her mother at ease, but today it seemed as if even the oldest of family recipes wasn’t enough to turn her mood.
Alexandra shook her head, determined not to say anything to stoke her mother’s disgruntled flames of anger. Instead she focused her attention on her physics homework. She needed to get an A in this class to secure her chances at a full ride.
“She acts like she’s the best thing since Great Grandma Abernathy’s prize winning peach preserves,” her mother hissed to the window. “My garden is better than hers and if it weren’t for me she wouldn’t even have a garden to speak of–that traitor.”
This one complaint was being voiced more often around the house. The more awards went to the garden next door, the more upset her mother became. Second place wasn’t enough anymore it seemed.
“I can’t even bare to look next door at what was really my handiwork in the first place…”
“Mama, you and Auntie Jane were the ones who decided to live next door to each other,” Alexandra said, exasperated.
The two had somehow managed to live in comity for decades, until their prize-winning gardens were pitted against each other last spring. Since then, the two had been at each other’s throats in a familial way that seemed to be even more embittered than a hatred for a total stranger.
“I’m going outside to water my hydrangeas,” her mother announced. Alexandra knew that was code for going to spy on Auntie Jane’s latest improvements.”Alexandra honey, please keep an eye on the chocolate cake for me. I wouldn’t want it to burn. I promised Jane we’d have her favorite dessert when she comes over tonight for dinner.”
Alexandra watched her mother saunter toward the back door.
Her mother turned with that fake innocent look on her face.
“You’re forgetting your water jug.”