Family, you miss the rice

When Maite sees them arrive, her smile turns sour as she is in charge of the Tabarech restaurant.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
19 August 2023 Saturday 10:34
7 Reads
Family, you miss the rice

When Maite sees them arrive, her smile turns sour as she is in charge of the Tabarech restaurant. “Table for six. We want a paella that turns out so good for you, ”Cinta, a special client, well-known in the town, asked days before, where she is used to making and unmaking the lives of others as if she were the mythical Penelope. Who is her Ulysses? Grandfather Lorenzo, an anti-hero whose only trip to Ithaca every day is the round trip from home to the bar. No crossing windy seas; just the soft swell of beer foam as he shakes the table from the force with which he and his friends hit the dominoes. Also part of her command is Mila, her daughter, who has a tense relationship with her father because of how she embittered his adolescent life with the demands of his studies and the pressure to take over from the family textile business. Business that in the end she went to hell, according to the numbers presented to the Treasury, but that provided black money to live three or four retirements without suffering. Mila's husband, Jan, the son-in-law, is a lost soul looking for an impossible place in the family universe. The band is completed by Pol and Arnau, the twins, the repes, who count for five.

They come from the beach, where they have displayed all the charms to tell each other what they think openly and hide their secrets with cunning. Tabarech (a Misillín star) enters the house with baskets and towels slung over their shoulders, the little boat half-deflated, and dripping shovels and buckets. The rest of the annoyances come from the shouts of the reps, from the flip-flops and feet dirty with sand and from the umbrellas and two other inflatables that hit (excuse me, excuse me!) the necks of the customers. Maite shows them the table and warns them: “You are late; the rice has been waiting for you for ten minutes”. “Nothing is wrong,” answers Cinta, commander-in-chief of the troop. "Will there be no vermouth?" asks Jan. "Yes, a Sunday without an aperitif is not Sunday," adds Lorenzo, who is itching to coincide with his son-in-law. “We want bravas!” the twins shout. “The rice will pass you by!” laments Maite. “It's okay”, “we'll eat it up”, responds the group, who bothers as much as they can by dragging chairs, throwing some cutlery on the floor and knocking over a bottle of water that wets the tablecloths and breaks two glasses.

The appetizers take time and the rice becomes stiff in the kitchen. Cinta takes advantage of the mess to re-engage in the lascivious proposals that she sends her by WhatsApp Antonio, a contemporary who promises her sexual watermarks that Llorenç's hibernation cannot even imagine. "Fuck! We have won!” shouts the grandfather. And it wasn't there! And they have distributed medals! ”, He insists after opening WhatsApp. He glares at Jan, who had the brilliant idea of ​​spending a Sunday at the beach with the grandparents. Precisely the day he was playing the final of the regional domino championship. Llorenç's laments do not distract Cinta's erotic interest. Mila smiles and experiences it as a small revenge, postponed in time. Jan hides, while he tries to control the reps. The twins, when the older ones get confused, go to the neighboring tables to steal bread or ask for money.

The meal takes place in a mess where no one is heard. Cinta has an appointment with Antonio for tomorrow and she is already thinking about what mischief she will wear. Lorenzo, in a bad mood, wants to hang himself the medal that his teammates have saved for him. Mila doubts if he has been right to leave the mobile all the food to the children so that they can play and keep quiet. Jan, oblivious to everything, ponders whether it would be a good idea to have a puppy.

"Holy, Maite! What a bill!" Lorenzo bellows, when the note arrives. Cinta looks up at the ceiling: "Shut up and pay, you won't finish your money." "And you, Jan, you never make the gesture of putting your hand in your bag!" Complains the grandfather. “Papaaaaaa”, Mila stretches out the word, embarrassed. Jan hides more and thinks about the caravan of cars that will trap them on the road like ants without a nest. Pol and Arnau, without their mobile phones, slide around the restaurant, thanks to the grit that they have entered with their dirty feet.

Outside, kisses and hugs seem sincere, but they have the aftertaste of family that has run out of rice.

Inside, Maite cries and laughs. Cry, for the rice, more typical of a beach bar. Laugh, because they have paid the price of a three-star Misillín.