Little Things Mean a Lot

Little Things Mean a Lot by Judith Williams

Hit with the stench of a recently soiled diaper, Addie gagged and pinched her nose.

“Addie, you coming to dinner with us?”

“I’d have to get ready.”

“Why can’t you toss on a pair of jeans like other kids your age?”

“I have more class than kids in this age. Running around wearing the clothes they do… Showing their knees. And—and—more than their knees!” Addie wrinkled her nose. “Plus, it’s Christmas Eve, and I would never be caught dead looking so casual.”

“Not their knees!” the woman smirked. “Jeans wouldn’t show your knees. Jeans are also warmer than those dresses you always wear.”

“Jeans are disgusting. And I would have to do my hair. It takes hours to get the pin curls right. And my makeup,” she added with an exasperated sigh. “They don’t sell the proper tools anymore.  However do they do a proper eye with these pencils? You must use a brush and pot.”

The woman pulled the last plate from the dishwasher and bumped the door with her hip, balancing the baby on the other. “Suit yourself,” she said. “You’re going to have to find something in the freezer—a Hot Pocket.”

“Hot Pocket!” Addie recoiled. “Those disgusting frozen hunks that are supposed to pass for food? Why are you going out to eat again anyway? It’s Christmas Eve. CHRISTMAS EVE!” She stomped her foot. “Why can’t you just stay home and cook a nice ham with mashed potatoes like any other respectable mother?”

The woman glared.

Addie recoiled. That was her cue to go. People here were so touchy about anything regarding domestication. She turned and headed toward the stairs. “Fine, I’ll eat the pocket,” she said, stomping up to her room.

Addie slammed her door and turned the lock, sighing in relief as she leaned against it. She ran her fingers through her hair as her eyes darted around the room. It was her room. It was her house. Yet—It wasn’t her room or house at all. The calendar on the wall was dated December 24, 2019… That wasn’t right. She looked in the mirror and brushed her fingers over her face. Her reflection stared back. Same dark brown eyes and hair. She even had her own name; yet, this was not her.

It had been two weeks, and she still hadn’t figured out how she had gotten here. She had been lying on the floor, feet up, listening to Kitty Kallen’s latest hit, Little Things Mean a Lot. She had been angry at her mom, who didn’t understand she didn’t have time to help with a big holiday meal. Why couldn’t the entire family get together on Christmas Day? They always did too much during this time of the year. She had a life. She had friends. She had a boy she liked. Her mom was ruining her life!

She thought back to the day she had found herself in this terrible place. She had closed her eyes, letting the music seep into her soul, imagining how James would ask her to dance at her Sweet Sixteen party in January. He would take her hand, look her in the eyes, and tell her she looked lovely. She was in bliss, or she was, until her mom had interrupted demanding she help with dinner. She had turned up the music to drown the woman out, closing her eyes to lose herself again. When she had opened her eyes, her mom was standing over her frowning—except, it wasn’t her mom.

It was a mom. It was somebody’s mom. A mom who didn’t make dinner every night. A mom that didn’t know how to make a Christmas ham. A mom that thought teenage girls should show their knees. It was a mom who showed her knees! And a mom who always looked like she rolled out of bed. Addie shuddered at the thought of going out into public like that. The people of 2019 lacked class.

She looked around the room. Whomever lived in this room had good taste. She had a canopy bed, a vanity, and a record player with a very nice collection of the latest music. Well, the latest music in 1954. Maybe if she replayed the vinyl and focused on her life, on her mom, on the smell of Sunday pot roast, she would go back. She would gladly help with dinner to never have another Hot Pocket. Thankfully, if she made it back home, it was a place where Hot Pockets didn’t exist.

She flipped through the vinyls and spotted Kitty Kallen. Addie smiled. Whoever this Addie was, she too, was in the wrong time. Strange, she thought as she pulled out the record. This one was like her copy. It had the same gold spiral lines running over it. She had been so angry when she had brought it home from the store. But it played just fine, and was sort of pretty, so she didn’t return it. She turned over the album jacket. A small sticker had been stuck to the lower left-hand corner. Time Travelers, it read, Supplying all your vintage needs.

Her eyes brightened.  “This is mine!”

She put the record on the player, skipping to Little Things Mean a Lot. She closed her eyes and smiled as the music filtered through the room. James and his perfectly greased hair and cuffed jeans filled her thoughts. He had the most dazzling blue eyes. Addie sighed. Go away James. She took a deep breath and tried again, picturing her mom in the kitchen, apron on, face just right, and checking the ham in the oven. She inhaled as the music drifted through the room, the scent of roasting pork making her stomach growl. It smelled so good. She couldn’t wait to eat. Frozen pockets of something that may or may not be meat were not good for the complexion.

“Addie,” her mom shouted.

Addie’s eyes flew open. She jumped from the floor and dashed to the door, throwing it open. That was her mom’s voice. That was the smell of her mom’s Christmas ham. She burst out of her bedroom and ran down the stairs to the kitchen.

“Here! I’m here, Mom. Ready to help!”

“Why, wherever else would you be, darling?” Her mom asked, furrowing her brow.

About the Author

  1. Avatar Judith Williams (1 story )

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    Judith Williams is a short story writer and aspiring novelist. She lives in the midwestern United States with her husband and three children. Before she began devoting her time to writing, she taught at a local university and worked in the museum field as a curator, exhibit coordinator, and research assistant. Williams’s fiction can be found in AHF Magazine, the Equinox--the Official Everquest II magazine, and her non-fiction in Cinematic Codes Review.

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