This week’s short story is brought to you by the prompt, “ancestor.”
I hope you enjoy the story.
Peter coiled the spaghetti around his fork but didn’t take a bite. He unraveled it and then raveled it again. His gaze left his plate to look at his mother to his left and his father to his right. No had said a word after saying grace before eating. It was a Friday night, everyone had a long week, and they were all exhausted. Normally, Peter would be out with his friends at this time but they had all finished their history projects. Peter hadn’t even started and it was due on Monday.
“Are you mad at me?” Peter asked, breaking the silence.
His mother paused, looking at him. She shook her head. “Peter, you’re in high school. If you want to leave your projects to the last minute that’s your choice.”
“We’re just not going to allow you to do anything else until it’s done,” his father added.
Peter sighed. Fair enough. That was a better response than the usual I’m-not-mad-just-disappointed bit.
“How long have you known about this project?” his dad asked.
Oh, here we go. He had opened his mouth, thus opening a can of worms. Peter looked back down at his food and muttered, “A month.”
“Oh, my,” his mother gasped, nearly dropping her fork.
Peter lifted his shoulders into a shrug. “I didn’t know where to start.”
“Is there a rubric?” his dad asked.
“That doesn’t tell you what to do for the project?”
“No, it does.”
“Then what’s the problem?”
“I need help with it.”
“Oh, honey, then why didn’t you just ask?” his mother joined in on the conversation.
“I didn’t know the right questions to ask,” Peter replied.
His father sighed. “This conversation is going no where.”
“What’s the project about? What’s the topic? A World War? Discovering America?” his mother rattled off some ideas.
Peter narrowed his eyes. “What? No. I learned about discovering America in elementary school.”
“It’s been a while since your father and I were in school, Peter.”
“Speak for yourself,” his father said. His wife glared at him and he cleared his throat turning back to Peter.
“Anyway, what’s the topic? I was never good at history but we might be able to figure something out.”
Peter put his fork down, finally deciding he had lost his appetite. “I have to do a report on where I came from.”
The room grew silent. His father stared at his mother in confusion while his mother turned to Peter with a soft gaze.
“Honey,” she said gently, “I thought we had this conversation already?”
Peter scrunched up his face in disgust. “What? No, Mom. Our ancestors. I have to write a report about our ancestors. Where did we come from? How did this family come to be?”
His parents grew silent again, staring at each other. Peter couldn’t read their expressions. Did they not know? How could they not know? Didn’t they ever ask their parents where they came from? Didn’t they ever have to do a project like this for school? Why did they look so confused?
Finally, his father looked back at his son. He grinned with a shrug and promptly took another bite of his dinner. Peter turned to his mother even more confused than before. She too was smiling sheepishly.
“Aren’t there websites that help with that stuff, honey?” she asked.
Peter shook his head in disbelief. “I guess so? I think you have to pay for them though.”
“We’ll pay for it,” his father said.
“You guys never asked your parents where they came from?” Peter asked.
His mother shook her head. “I never thought about it.”
“Neither did I,” his father said.
“Why not?” Peter continued.
“Well, you’ve never asked us,” His father answered.
“I’m asking you now.”
“Because of school.”
“We didn’t have this kind of a project to do in school when we were your age,” his mother stated. “I’m sorry we can’t help you but we can look up it up on the computer together. I think it’ll be fun. We can all bond!”
Peter and his father looked at each with concern, sighing.
He had always done his school projects at the last minute. But now he was really regretting procrastinating on this one. He was in for a long weekend.
I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Please feel free to share this post.