Ulrika watched Matilda stumble into the kitchen. As usual, Matilda was still half asleep.
The day was already two hours old for Ulrika. She was sitting at the kitchen table sipping her second cup of coffee. An old notebook lay in front of her and she was chewing on a pen.
“Hey,” said Ulrika, as Matilda spilled her glass of milk across the table. Ulrika snatched up her notebook, saving it from ruin.
“Sorry mom,” said Matilda. Her morning doo shielded her face from the morning sun. “What is that?”
“It’s one of my notebooks from college.”
“You kept it all these years?”
“I figured it’d be a priceless antique by now,” said Ulrika.
“Eat your Cheerios.”
“No, really. What’re you doing with it?”
“I wanted to look at it, maybe revisit an old idea I had,” said Ulrika.
“When I was in college I took a course on playwriting. There was one play I loved. ‘Six Characters in Search of an Author’ by Luigi Pirandello. You ever studied him? Pirandello? He’s Italian?”
Matilda wiped her hair out of her eyes and glared at her mother.
“Anyhoo, I got an idea for a play. It’s called ‘Six Authors in Search of a Character.’ It’s about a reality TV show on the Book Channel where six authors compete for a character they collectively…”
“The Book Channel?”
“Yeah, but no one watches it.”
“My play isn’t about the actual channel.”
“It’s a play nobody’s gonna watch about a channel nobody cares about,” said Matilda.
“You don’t know. It’s going to be a comedy. There’ve been lots of sitcoms about TV shows. Why not mine?”
Matilda slurped a spoonful of Cheerios and sized up her mom. She now looked like Matilda felt.
“Why’re you doing this?” said Matilda.
“Why not? Maybe I want to do something more with my life. Take a few more risks. See what I can do,” said Ulrika.
“What’s wrong with your life now? You’ve done a lot already. You take care of me. And you’re, you know, older. Shouldn’t you be thinking about slowing down? Retirement an’ stuff?”
“I’m only forty-nine.”
“Exactly. It’s a young person’s world.”
Matilda suddenly woke up. “I didn’t mean you weren’t, you know, but I’m just saying, like, there’s a window of opportunity and it’s like, well, closing.”
Ulrika folded her arms and looked at her daughter over her glasses. “My window hasn’t closed yet.”
“Of course not.”
“But your window may close in a hurry if you keep this up,” said Ulrika.
“Right. Sorry,” said Matilda. She pulled her hair back over her face and slurped another spoonful of Cheerios.