A slightly hefty woman with brown curls put her hands on her ample hips.
“And what do you think you’re doing, Miss Olivia?” she demanded from her four year old right as the little girl began reaching at a sample tray full of chocolate chip muffins. “Stop it right now. You’re going to ruin your appetite. Come on, girls. We’re going that way.”
The little girl put her fingers in her mouth and looked sheepish. The older girl, probably around eleven years old, gave her mom an annoyed look and followed.
“Anyway, Marie, so getting back to what we were talking about…”
The mom chatted on the phone and pushed her grocery cart absentmindedly. Olivia gently nibbled on her thumb. She looked back at the muffins one last time before skipping forward.
“Marie, I don’t know why you are so nice and accommodating. That woman doesn’t know what she is doing. She doesn’t bake her own stuff for the school sales, buys the cheapest wine for our meetings, and hasn’t even read Pride and Prejudice! I mean, jeez Louise, what right does she have to run a book club? That is the ultimate women’s book club book! I say we tell her that she needs to step down. How about at this Friday’s meeting?”
The mom put the phone on speaker and told her older daughter to hold it while she rummaged through the oranges. The person on the other end’s voice rang clearly, “Meredith, don’t you think you’re being a little harsh? Jenny is devoted to the book club. Yes, we all know she’s lacking a bit, but honestly, don’t you think we should make more of an effort too? We are all part of the club…and anyway, she is a really good friend. I don’t think you understand. You haven’t been in the group for very long…”
Suddenly, Meredith looked up. “Where is Olivia?”
The older daughter looked exasperated. “I don’t know, Mom. You never told me to watch her.”
“I gotta go. Call you later.”
Meredith and her older daughter left the cart behind and raced through the store. They found Olivia teeter-tottering on the stool by the sample tray.
“Olivia! Get your hands off that muffin!”
“Oh my God, Mom, just let her eat it!” cried her older daughter. “God, you’re so mean and bossy. That’s why NO ONE LIKES YOU.”
Some shoppers looked at them curiously.
The mom’s face deepened into a dark red hue. She whispered, “How dare you say that to your mother in public. We’re going home. You’re grounded. For a year!”
The three of them trooped out of the store. Olivia’s chocolate stained lips were the only ones smiling.
Some people don’t like to hear the truth. Do you?