Annie is waiting outside of the George Bush Intercontinental airport for Mrs. Hall, her mother’s friend. Around 3.30 she finally arrives in her blue car. She leans over from the driver’s side window. “Annie! Get in.” Annie opens the door and gets inside the car.
“Thanks for picking me up. I was planning to take a ubar.”
“Not to worry. It is my pleasure. So how was the flight?”
“Good, no complaint.”
“I heard from your mother that your work is very hectic.”
“Yes, it is. But I like to stay busy so it is fine.” Annie glances at Mrs.Hall. Her hair is dyed an unnatural black and falls in tight springs around her face and down her shoulder. Her eyes hidden behind the big, round sunglass, but Annie knows they are dark brown and deep-set. She knows mrs. Hall when she was eight years old and used to visit her house with her mother. She remembers the fancy silk curtains in her house, always moved in breeze, fresh-cut flowers in clear glass vases, there was always sunlight everywhere. She had two cute and playful dogs;one Labrador and one pitbul mix.
Annie used to play with the dogs while her mother and Mrs Hall talked and baked together. In someweekends they volunteer together.
“ I remember that you used to love writing and your first story in the Houston Chronicle. A beautiful story on bullying, very brilliantly written! Are you still writing?” She asks.
Annie nods her head. “Sometimes.”
“Excellent! Keep it up.” She leans closer. “Here comes your home.Listen I have a meeting to attend so I will not go inside. But give your mother a hug for me,okay?” She smiles.
“I will, and thanks for the ride,” Annie says as she lurches out of the car. Annie opens the front door of her parent’s house.It has been a year, but to her surprise everything is the same.Inside the house the floors are covered with oriental rugs, her favorite is the bright blue kitchen, the one chipped tile on the floor with its corner cut like someone stole a piece of pie. Her mother is in the kitchen and has a khaki pant, a baby blue v’neck t-shirt, her favorite color. Her dark, wavy hair parted on the side and falls on her shoulder.
“Annie!, she closes the refrigerator door and runs towards her to hug. “ I’m so happy to see you!” She wipes her happy tears and smiles. “So she picked up on time.”
“Yes, it was nice to see Mrs. Hall. She has a meeting so she left.Where is dad?” Annie looks around.
“He is in the backyard, busy in planting.Go surprise him.” Excitement spills over from her voice. “In the mean time I will make tea for you.”
“That sounds perfect mom! I would love that. Please make the Assam tea with lots of ginger and cardamom.”
Annie walks out to the back. In the backyard her father is busy in planting okra, eggplant, tomatoes and zucchin. His thin hair combed over his bald spot, his glasses smudged.
“Dad!” Her father takes off his eyeglass and looks up.
“Annie!” He wipes the sweat from his forehead and stands up straight. He has dirt all over his hand and on his gray pant. “I’ll be there in a minute. Today, your mom has been cooking all your favorite foods. We are so happy to see you after such a long time.”
“ I am glad to be home!”
Annie stands beneath a blooming tree and lifts her face upward where the birds perched high above her.
“It is a yellow-billed magpie, her father says from behind. “Very pretty! Isn’t it?”
“Yes, it is.” Annie walks back into the living room. The walls in this room are streaked at least a dozen different colors, from beige to buttercream. Her parents want a color that will suit them before they paint the room. Her father has washed and changed into a blue t-shirt and stands in front of the lightest streaks, the beige and antique white. But her mother is nearest the bright yellow, the one they already discarded as a silly color.Yet, that night, at least from where she sits, the yellow seems to illuminate her mother’s lovely face and she is confident that yellow will be a perfect color for that room.