For the Monthly SimLit Short Story Challenge hosted by LisaBeeSims! More information here if you’d like to participate or read other entries. The January 2022 theme was “new.”
The stove sizzled, and the smell of his mother’s famous toast and eggs with chunks of chorizo wafted through the house.
“Ignacio!” she called out. “Breakfast is almost ready! Ven, pon la mesa! Come set the table!”
There was a clatter of dishes and silverware as Ignacio laid out two place settings.
His mother sighed when she saw it. “Ignacio, mijo, we’re a family of four now. You forgot to set the table for your stepfather and stepsister-“
“They’re not really part of our family,” he grumbled just out of earshot as his stepfamily joined them.
Ignacio stood up. He wasn’t in the mood to share breakfast with strangers.
His stepfather, in his oversized puke green sweater, sat down and cheerfully greeted him in a silly voice. “Gooood morning, Nacho!”
“No!” yelled Ignacio. “You don’t get to call me that, only my real dad got to call me that-“
“Ignacio!” chided his mother.
Ignacio grabbed a plateful of eggs and toast to-go and snapped, “I hate you, and I hate it here, and I’m going to school.” And he stormed out, almost feeling the burn of his mother’s glare on the back of his head.
Once the kids had left for school, Ignacio’s stepfather let out a shaky sigh. “I don’t know what else I can do, everything I say is wrong-“
“Don’t worry, dear,” Ignacio’s mother reassured him, giving his shoulders a tight squeeze. “Ignacio’s just a teenager, I’m sure he’ll come around…”
At the end of the school day, Ignacio’s stepfather ran out to greet his daughter, but his mother couldn’t find her son.
“Where’s Ignacio?” she asked her stepdaughter, but the little redhead only shrugged and said that he hadn’t been on the bus home.
“Ignacio?” his mother called out again into the neighborhood, a note of panic in her voice. “Ignacio!“
But the neighborhood was still.
Ignacio’s mother jogged through the streets of their old neighborhood, following a hunch. It was the first day of November, and even though they lived in the desert, the temperatures were already dropping. Wisps of her breath trailed behind her as she arrived at the little abode, panting.
She found Ignacio sitting alone in the empty house.
“Mijo,” she said gently. “This is our old house. We don’t live here anymore-“
“I know,” he replied bitterly. “But I don’t want the new house. I don’t want a new family, I don’t want a new stepfather, and I don’t want a new stepsister, I just want to go back to the way things were, us in our old house, with Dad, back when he was-” His throat tightened and he cut off his last sentence.
“Ay, mijo,” she bent down and scooped him up in a tight embrace. “I know. I miss him too, every day.”
And Ignacio buried his face into her soft, fleecy sweater and cried.
“Ven, let’s go home,” she said gently. “We have a surprise for you-“
They walked home together in melancholy silence. Ignacio trudged back into their new house, but when he reached the living room, he froze, speechless.
“Surprise!” shouted his stepfather. “Since today is Día de los Muertos, I thought we could set up an ofrenda for your dad, well, your real dad. Your mother and your stepsister both helped with the decorations-“
Ignacio was too surprised to say anything, but he stared at the ofrenda for a long, long time. He was so lost in thought that he almost forgot to set the dinner table.
“Ignacio!” called out his mother. “Dinner is almost ready, did you set the table- oh!”
Spanish Colonial Reno house by lilsimsie, original by madelynsims95