From the Sky - Part XVII

Ernesto smiled at his youngest daughter then leaned over and gently kissed the top of her head.

"How is your agita today, Papa?"

Ernesto shrugged and said: "It comes, it goes. My stomach churns all the time. It's the picnic; all the preparations turn my insides upside down."

"Papa, you look so tired."

"It's just the picnic, Zia, that's all. Don't forget: I'm not getting any younger!"

"You're not resting, either. Not that you ever rest enough, Papa. Why is the light still on in your den when I get home?"

"I've got a little project, something there's no time for during the day. And I hear you going up the steps at two in the morning, Zia! Where are you coming from at that hour?"

"You know where I'm coming from, Papa."

"Why must you paint her so late in the evening?"

"It's the only time that works, just like with you and your mysterious little project. I'm here all day. I only have the evenings. And I don't rush my art, Papa, so I stay late."

Ernesto nodded, eyeing the detail of the cake on the counter. Zia certainly did sacrifice speed for perfection.

"Anyway," Zia sighed, stepping back and shaking her apron, sending a very fine cloud of flour into the air, "I'm nearly finished with her portrait. The wedding cake will get all my attention soon. So tell me, Papa, what is this 'project' you're working on in the middle of the night?"

He looked at her. She looked at him.

"Well?" she asked, her eyebrows arching, her lips forming a curious, playful smile. "Oh, what are you up to, Papa?"

Finally, Ernesto rubbed his belly and said: "Don't forget these are very important wedding cakes, Zia."

"And don't forget I am painting a very important portrait, Papa."

Ernesto kissed the top of her head again and walked away, leaving Zia to her work. She leaned over and carefully resumed her overpiping. After a while she stopped for a moment, just a moment, and smiled again, faintly. Her eyes drifted from her work, moving past her open cake bible, and finally fell on the sketch book near the far edge of the stainless steel counter. After a long, delicious moment she turned and focused again on the delicate work at hand. Her smile remained, broadening ever so slightly as she worked.

Secrets?...


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