It’s Friday (you might already know this — why do I tell you this every week?), and I’m meeting up with the community of Five Minute Friday at Lisa-Jo Baker’s Tales from a Gypsy Mama for some free writing. Here are the rules: follow the prompt, no extreme editing, write for five minutes flat and encourage the person who linked up just before you. Write with us?

Today’s word is VOICE.


Last night, J and I made tuna melts — her favorite. We cut up homemade pickles and stirred them in with the mayonnaise and the flaky fish. At her suggestion, we chopped pickled dill and pickled carrots, scattering this smattering on the bread for her, her papa and me “because I’m an adventure eater,” J said.

Sisters received theirs the normal way — just tuna — because that’s what they like.

Mid-way through our prep, J ran downstairs and came up with chef hats. One for her, one for me.

As I cut veggies for sides, J observed, “Lala has her own message on your phone. When can Sici and I have one?”

I was surprised that J knew my outgoing voice mail greeting held the voice of her 4-year-old little sister. Perhaps she’d listened to it on speaker with one of her grandmas as they waited to leave a message for me.

“Do you want to make my greeting?” I asked, pulling melts out of the oven, cheese glistening, edges beginning to turn too-dark brown.

She nodded, eyes wide. “Yeah.”

“OK, sweetie, ready? I’m going to press record.”

“Hi, you’ve reached Ashley Larkin,” she began, a slight giggle in her mouth. “Please leave a message. Thank you. Bye.”

“Let me hear it, let me hear it,” she said.

I played the greeting back. Her voice was soft.

“That’s me?” she asked. “But I sound like a baby.”

“I always think that when I hear my voice, too,” I said. “Our voices usually sound bigger inside us.”

J pulled cups out of the cupboard, filled them with water, snapped the lids on and pushed straws through the red lids’ holes.

She arranged drinks one by one on the wooden tray that usually holds magazines, grasped both handles and walked downstairs to serve sisters, her chef’s hat trailing through the doorway.


Five Minute Friday

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