“Gah!” I woke up to find Banana sitting on the edge of my bed, watching me. She wasn’t making any sound or moving; she was just watching me. “Banana, honey. You scared me.” I smiled, trying to calm my rapidly beating heart. “Have you been up long?” I glanced at my clock and saw it was seven-thirty in the morning. As I hadn’t gone to bed until after one, I was definitely hurting.
“I just got up, Auntie,” Banana said, hurrying to hug me. “I’m hungry.” She plopped herself back down, this time right by my face. “Can you make me breakfast?” She sounded so wistful, I didn’t have the heart to tell her to go away.
“Give me five minutes, love.” I struggled to sit up, conscious of my nudity. “Um, why don’t you go wake up Uncle Matt? I’ll be right there.”
“Ok!” Banana jumped off my bed and raced out the door. I knew Matt would give me hell for telling her to wake him up, but that wasn’t my problem. I got out of bed and threw on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, figuring it was enough to go get started on breakfast. I trudged out the door, trying to wake myself up. Banana was dragging Matt out of his room, and he stopped to glare at me. I suppressed a smirk as I made my way to the kitchen. If I had to be up, he had to be up.
I opened the fridge, hoping that there was something edible. I saw some eggs and decided to scramble them. I’d make whole wheat toast and some sausage patties and call it a day. So it wasn’t the healthiest thing she could eat—it was homemade. That had to count for something. I went to work, making enough food for three. I pulled out a carton of orange juice, sniffing it to make sure it wasn’t past its prime. It was just fine. Matt and Banana walked into the kitchen, watching as I cooked. They knew better than to ask to help as I preferred cooking solo. I started the coffee as well as I needed at least three cups.
“It smells good, Auntie,” Banana said, her eyes wide. “Mommy doesn’t cook food like this.” Of course not. Julia wouldn’t sink so low. She was strictly haute cuisine, and I was a meat and potatoes gal. Could be why she liked fashion, and I liked sports. “Is it ready yet?”
“Almost,” I said, waving my hand behind me. Matt took the hint and herded Banana to the living room. I could hear the television from the kitchen, which meant he had the volume too high. I slugged down a cup of coffee almost raw while I was cooking just to jumpstart my brain. When I went into the living room, Matt and Banana were rapt in the world of the Justice League. Matt had the DVDs of the first season, and it was one of his favorites. I wasn’t sure it was appropriate for someone Banana’s age, but she appeared to be enjoying it.
“Food!” Banana jumped up and grabbed a plate from the tray I was carrying. I set one down in front of Matt before grabbing the last plate for myself. Matt and Banana thanked me before turning back to the television. I kept one eye on what they were watching and one eye on Banana. It was wearying to take care of a kid because you had to constantly make sure she didn’t come to any harm. As she sat there eating, I envisioned the food going down the wrong way and getting stuck in her esophagus.