Written with my Thursday night group with a list of prompts that sounded like a grocery list!
Janet perused the grocery list her father had handed her as she headed out the door. Her father was not as organized as her mother and he never would be. Janet simply needed to accept that. I mean, really, look at this list! Grapes! Cheese! Cashews! These were all over the store. Janet’s mother had imagined a stroll through the actual aisles as she made her list: first would be the items procured in the produce section because Mom always parked the car near the west entrance, so you’d walk into a space that had bananas on one side and bagged lettuce and spinach on the other. Then the list would take you down amid the chips and the soft drinks on your way to the dairy—the milk, the butter, the string cheese. Then to the meats and the fish, finally to the breakfast cereals and canned fruits, the sauces in jars, the dried beans in bags.
But this list of her father’s was all over the place. Janet could imagine that this was exactly how he’d shop too. He’d think of grapes and he’d go to the produce section and get grapes. (Janet shook her head. It would horrify her mother to know Dad was buying grapes out of season.) Then he’d think of cheese and he’d wander over to the deli counter to get some brie or Sonoma jack or maybe he’d just be stumped, not knowing what kind of cheese her mother would have bought. At least he had the nuts together, Janet thought as she noted the next two items on the list were cashews and almonds. Ironic because that described her parents—a couple of nuts together. Mom with her borderline OCD always trying to keep everything and everybody in the house micromanaged, Dad confused and disorganized, depending on her mother to find socks that matched his shoes for him.
Now that Mom was gone, well, Janet could not imagine how her father was going to keep the Golden Schnoodle’s toe nails and fur clipped on a regular basis. Her father seemed befuddled by most domestic matters, but Janet felt he was amusing and charming in his attempts. In her note, Mom said she was tired of taking care of three teenagers—lumping her father in with Janet and her brother. But why would she run off with weird Mr. Key, the house painter, who came to do the kitchen and ended up doing Mom? Mr. Key seemed a lot less mature than Dad did. He wore tie-dyed T shirts and jeans ripped at the knees and seat. He didn’t have a Ph.D. like Dad did, though Mom told her Mr. Key almost finished his BA in music 23 years ago. Apparently he played a mean flamenco guitar and sometimes sat in with a Reggae band. Mom said they would be moving to Costa Rica and she would send for Janet once they got settled. But Janet thought she’d just stay here with Dad. Things were slowly returning to normal. A new kind of normal. Dad wasn’t much of a cook, but sometimes they’d eat an entire meal of peanuts and cherries. It was fun. Janet looked at the list again as she arrived at the store. “Cottage cheese, raisins, and cinnamon.” Mmmm—sounded good.