Oh boy - this was a hard one. I had a heck of a time coming up with a plot based on the writing prompt and then there was the writing of it! Certainly a challenge! One more creative writing challenge after this and then it will be time for the Christmas break - whew...
Angie paced through the kitchen and down the hallway, her shoes clacking on the beige tile floor. Everytime she glanced at the neat stack of mail on the hall table she clenched her hands into a sweaty fist, she wasn't sure but she might actually get sick. At the other end of the table was a wedding photo of her son and his bride in an ornate silver frame. "Oh, no... what have I done".
The crunch of gravel on the driveway alerted her to her husband's arrival. With a quick turn on her heel she rushed to the kitchen where she she stood in front of the stove stirring a curry, her slender figure stiffened against the sound of her husband's steps coming down the hall.
"Hi honey, I'm home!" Carl grabbed the pile of envelopes from the table as he passed by. The smell of curry scented the air. Carl walked into the kitchen, his bulky form darkening the doorway for a moment. The corners of Carls mouth dropped into a frown, "Curry again? What's wrong with meat and potatoes?"
Angie opened the fridge and grabbed a bottle of beer. "I have a beer open for you, why don't you come and tell me about your day?"
"Huh, in a minute", he dropped the mail on the kitchen table and seated himself on a chair, took a swig of beer, and started to open the envelopes. Just as he was opening the bank statement the back door opened and Peter, their son, stepped through the door.
"You won't believe it! Vidya is refusing to come home. She wants to stay in India with her family. I wish her parents hadn't lent her the money to go. How will I live without her? I love her!" Peter leaned against the counter, his shoulders slumped.
Carl glanced at the paper in his hands. "What's this? Angie, do you know anything about this," his voice grew louder, "five thousand dollar withdrawal?"
"ummm... well, it's the money I lent to Vidya for her trip." She wiped her sweaty palms on a dish towel, and stirred the pot again. "She was so depressed. I was worried she might do something and thought a trip home might perk her up. I thought seeing her family would help…"
Carl's face turned red and a vein started to pound in his neck. "Are you telling me that you gave Vidya five thousand dollars without consulting me?" his hands shook, rattleing the bank statement that was clasped in his hands.
Peter's mouth formed a snarl. "Mom, are you out of your mind? How are we supposed to pay back that loan? I'm not even sure I'll have a job by the end of the week - AsciiPro is having trouble with the call center in India and might hire someone there to work it out. So I'll be without a job, my wife, and my child."
"Child?" she raised her eyebrows and a smile lit her face.
"Ya. I just found out this morning. Vidya is pregnant, and thanks to you I'm losing everything." Peter slammed the door as he stormed out of the house.
Carl turned to Angie, "You call her and tell her that if she doesn't get her ass back here from that hell-hole I'm calling the police to say she stole the money." He grabbed his beer off the counter and stomped into the living room.
Early the next morning Angie picked up the phone with trepidation. Her hands shook as she dialed the number to Vidya's parents house in India.
"Hello, Vidya speaking." said a disconnected voice over a crackling line.
Angie stared out the kitchen window and a nerve twitched under her eye as she told Vidya about Carl's threat to call the police.
At the other end of the phone line, Vidya stood in front of an ornate full length mirror admiring the perfect job she had done applying the bindi. The perfect red circle was reflected in the round mirrored disks in her saree. She adjusted the burgundy garment over her shoulder and preened at her image. *so much better than American clothes*. Her attention focused back on what Angie was saying but she dismissed Angie's threats as impossible to implement. Angie continued her pleading, the combination of cajoling and threat didn't budge Vidya's position. She was staying in India and that was all there was to it, even if she did miss Peter tremendously.
Frustrated, Angie called Peter to see if he had more luck. "Mom, I'm at work, I can't talk. We are really busy here dealing with the call centre I told you about.", his voice lowered to a menacing whisper, "You better find some way of getting her home. I want my baby born here."
That evening Carl returned home from work to find Angie crying in the livingroom. "I take it Vidya said no." said Carl. His eyes didn't leave Angie, his face flushed . "I'll let you try again tomorrow before we take any action. You can find out from the Indian Embassy what steps we need to take. I don't understand why she doesn't want to live here where we eat cows instead of letting them run everywhere."
Angie grimaced at Carl's racist words, "you sure didn't help matters" she mumbled under her breath.
As soon as Carl left for work the next morning, Angie called Vidya again and, again she had no luck. "The baby will have choices when it grows up. If it's born in the US it will automatically be an American citizen. Think what that might mean for its future. Oh honey, it's not about the money, we want you to come back. Peter is distraught without you, we all are.", but Vidya held strong.
With shaking hands Angie dialed the number she had written down. "Hello, I need some advice. Someone we know borrowed some money and have returned to India, what is our recourse?".
"I'm sorry, the staff is unavailable, I'll have someone call you tomorrow.", said an unfamiliar voice.
Angie hung up the phone and pulled a box of tea from the cupboard. She could no longer hold back her tears when she saw the decorated elephant on the lid.
The next day Peter burst in the back door of his parents house. With a goofy grin on his face he said "the company is sending me to India! I'm going in two weeks and who knows how long I'm going to stay there - they say it's a permenant job! Vidya will start looking for an apartment today. Isn't that fantastic! I'll be there when the baby is born."
Angie stood frozen to the spot. She was losing her son and grandchild to a foreign land that she was certain Carl would not agree to visit.