|Audrey "Aud" Carpenter (shyviolet) wrote in repose,|
@ 2019-11-26 14:20:00
She saved the brown paper bags. Every time. First Audrey would remove the groceries one by one and gingerly set them upon the pale green tiled counter, once she was finished emptying the bags she'd pluck each item back up and begin putting them away in their respective places.
1. Frozen food was put away so they didn’t thaw too much.
2. Refrigerated goods were next. Eggs and butter in the side door, always (Along with the bread, the bread lasted longer in the cold).
3. Dried food went in the cabinets. Noodles, cereal, tea, coffee, flour, sugar, etc.
4. Canned goods also went in the cabinets, but they had their own section.
5. Any other miscellaneous items would be organized accordingly.
Audrey knew her parents appreciated the system, even if they didn’t say anything. She knew it was so much easier to grab what was needed without having to look twice when they were rushing. The twins favorite breakfast cereals were in the same place as always so they wouldn’t feel rushed. Their snacks placed neatly in front for after school because they were always starving when they got home. The coffee her father drank in the morning would be filled and awaiting its daily brew. Her mother was typically rushing out the door, so Audrey liked to believe it was a weight off her mother’s shoulders to not have to worry about any of it.
So now she was folding the paper bags. The paper bags that would go in the drawer beneath the microwave where she also kept the coupon binder stacked neatly on top of them. Eventually she'd get the coupons on her phone for convenience, but part of her liked cutting them out for their place in the binder.
In fact, she was still working on saving paper bags when her brothers came sprinting through the front door, throwing down their things in abrupt thuds and the rustling of coats. As expected they then bustled right into the kitchen carrying the scent of crisp November wind on their clothes, their tall, slender forms barreled through like small hurricanes topped by wispy midnight hair. The twins threw open the snack cabinet doors without so much as a word to their sister, only laughter amongst themselves.
“Something funny?” Audrey asked hopefully, she pressed the said bag to her stomach, it made creasing the fold easier; it was straight and flat as the pages inside of a book.
“Yeah,” Henry snorted as he popped open a newly purchased a can of pringles. “We had an idea for a video game. It would be like Goat Simulator, only you will be able to upload your own pictures so you can terrorize the city with anyone you want.”
James who was a half an inch taller than Henry--something he never ever let his twin brother forget-- was reaching in the fridge pop the lid of his banana juice--it took Audrey an hour to find it in the small town, she was shocked she did in all honesty--and gulped it down. He wiped his mouth with the back of his sleeve, smacked his lips together once then grinned. “Liam from Advanced Calc gave us the idea. We’re going to upload our pictures and some of the dipshits from school then stream it on Discord once it’s finished. Shouldn’t take us too long, we’ll probably be done by Thanksgiving.”
Audrey nearly rolled her eyes at her brothers, but something stuck out to her. “Thanksgiving? You know mom and dad won’t let you guys go off and--”
“There’s no Thanksgiving this year, it’s canceled,” Henry swiftly interrupted, then promptly stuffed his mouth with a small stack of pringles crunching in the obnoxious way only teenage boys seemed to manage. The crumbs that fell sprinkled themselves over his faded navy sweater, a dusting of starchy potato standing out starkly against the fabric.
“What do you mean it’s canceled?” Audrey’s brow rose up sharply, she felt her fingers tighten on the rough paper beneath their pads. She resisted the urge to tug on her hair the silky black locks beckoning on her shoulder. She shook it away so it fell over her back instead. Out of sight out of mind. “You can’t cancel a holiday.”
“He means we’re not having it," James interceded, offering a derisive snort. “Not that the actual holiday is canceled. Don’t be so dense, Aud.”
“Dad took on a case that’s out of town,” Henry continued between chews. “Mom decided to go with him since she had the week off. They left this morning.”
“When did they deci--”
“They were talking about it while you were at work last night dad got the call and, ah---yeah.” James began to rummage through his jean pockets. “Shit, yeah. Mom left a note? I forgot. I was busy on a stream. Anyway, she said we could maybe do like dinner out or something before Christmas.” Her brother pulled out a crinkled note, crumbled and obviously unimportant in his world. “Mom should have texted you, she knows I forget half the things she tells me.”
Audrey’s hands went up instinctively, but the wad managed to hit her forehead before landing in her open palms--the paper bag fell silently to the ground still half folded.
“...but… I just bought everything for prep from mom's list and--” She had begun to unfold the note, which felt so heavy for paper, too thick and crumpled together in concave ridges. It made the skin of her hands hurt. She didn't look down at it. It was heavy enough, it didn't need more attention. “Well, okay. Mom and dad won’t be here, but I could figure out how to to make a turkey and if you guys helped maybe we coul--
Henry and James cackled simultaneously, a trait that sometimes made Audrey feel small, it was like they were in on a joke she’d never understand. Perhaps she was the joke.
“You? Cook a turkey?” Henry set the pringles can down on the top of the counter, its now empty shell clinking against the tile. He licked the lingeringer bits of salt from his lips with the tip of his tongue. “I don’t want to get food poisoning on vacation.”
“I could figure it out--plus it’d just go to waste if just let it--”
“No thanks,” their voices rang in unison.
“Besides, Vince is spending Thanksgiving in California with his boyfriend’s family and Samantha can’t make it into town so she’s doing one of those ‘friendsgiving’ things or whatever they are.” James stretched then crushed the banana juice bottle between his palms.
“But you guys love Thanksgiving,” Audrey’s hushed voice found itself hanging helplessly in the air. “It has all of your favorites.”
“Oh, we’ll still get them.” James grinned and set the remnants of the bottle on the counter as well. “Liam invited us since mom and dad will be gone, we’re gonna be at his place until Sunday. He said his grandma makes the best pumpkin pie ever.”
Audrey’s shoulders hunched slightly. “O-oh…”
“Yeah, sorry sis.” Henry shrugged his lanky shoulders. “Made any friends you can celebrate with?”
“Ah, um…” Audrey’s mind briefly flashed to Hugh’s open invite. She had offered to help with prep, but that was it. She wasn’t sure if she could just show up now, it’d be weird. Besides, what would she say? My family decided to ditch me on Thanksgiving, so here I am!
She held back cringe and unfurled a watered down smile. “Of course. Definitely.” Not really. “I am kind of relieved.” No I'm not. “It saves me from having to do all the prep for mom.” The watered down smile melted into a watered down laugh. “Maybe I can donate the turkey, and I am sure Hugh--my friend will be able to use the perishables. For...our Thanksgiving.” That I am not going to.
Her brothers didn’t seem to notice the half baked enthusiasm, and if they did, they certainly showed no signs.
“Sounds good,” James chirped. “We have to go pack up some of our stuff and get our laptops.” He was already rushing to head upstairs.
“I am gonna go say bye to Zeus,” Henry rubbed the back of his neck. “You’ll take care of him while we’re gone, yeah?”
Oh, that’s right. The dog. He had been so quiet today, she nearly forgot. He wouldn't get turkey scraps this year, poor guy. Now she definitely wouldn’t be able to go even if she wanted to, would she?
“Yeah,” she sighed, stooping down to pick up the half folded grocery bag from the hardwood floor. “He’s napping in the living room.”
“Awesome,” and that was that, Henry was disappearing down the hall to ruffle up the old husky.
“Awesome,” she echoed faintly to no one as she glanced around the empty kitchen that she found herself standing in. It was smaller than their old one, but somehow in this moment it felt far much bigger and imposing than the other one ever had. She didn’t even bother reading her mother’s note, she tossed it in the trash with the rest of the rubbish her brothers had left behind.
A swift mental note carved itself to life in the back of her mind: Next year don’t buy the damn turkey until night before.