Marva stacked cans of creamed corn on the pantry shelf while avoiding kicking over the glass bottles at her feet. After two years, she still had a surplus of his favorite sparkling water. These bottles were a fact she could not reconcile. She couldn’t understand why he’d stock the pantry with something only he’d liked then leave. This mystery and all the others made her certain it had been better to believe him dead, than to know he’d left without giving her the respect of a goodbye.
Marva yelped. She’d dropped a can of baked beans on her foot. She crouched down, removed her shoe and her holey sock, squeezed her toes to distract them from the pain.
Sadie looked at the sad crumple of woman on the pantry floor: bulging gut hidden under high-waisted jeans, gray hair streaking through the center of a mess of kinky hair. “No wonder he left you,” she mumbled, just loud enough for her mother to hear. Marva pretended she hadn’t.
They criss-crossed each other in silence until the last of the groceries was put in its place.