They say there is a bad storm coming. After my evening class, I texted my husband to say I would be stopping by Wegmans for my dinner and did he want anything? He asked for sesame chicken or a calzone. In addition to the prepared food, I decided to pick a few groceries. I wouldn’t want to be snowbound without hard cider and fudge pops.
The store was predictably crowded, but the shoppers lacked the frenzy I expect in grocery stores before a big snowstorm. Instead, they just seemed weary. It’s been a long winter. I pushed my way through the slow-moving carts, apparently much more eager to get home than everyone else.
The checkout lines were long. I noticed an opening at the 15 items or less line and jumped on it before I could count my items. I counted them as I unloaded the basket onto the conveyor belt–15 items exactly.
Sense of morality intact, I made my way out to the parking lot. It had been raining lightly when I entered the store, but now it was raining much harder–fat, cold drops. I shoved the groceries in the trunk, amidst the laptop, the library books I am using and the ones I need to return, and a stand fan that’s been rolling around back there since last summer.
It occurred to me that I could text my husband and ask him to put on his shoes and coat and meet me in front of the covered steps that lead to our apartment. I got in the car and pulled out my phone. I was surprised to see that I had another text from my husband and a voicemail from a number I thought I recognized but was surprised to see.
My husband’s text said that he was just leaving work and getting a drink with some of the guys. The whole time I was shopping, I had been imagining him waiting at home, and felt foolish for hustling through the store. I was disappointed that he would not be home to meet the car and help bring in the groceries. The voicemail was, as I had suspected but couldn’t really believe, from the public information officer of my school district: school for tomorrow is cancelled based on the forecast. The forecast! What if it just keeps raining?
I made it home and found a parking spot reasonably close to our building. I picked up the laptop and as many of the groceries as I thought I could safely manage. Standing in the rain, I had a devious thought. I made sure I had all the frozen items and my dinner.
Inside the apartment, I put away the frozen food, popped my dinner in the microwave and sent my husband a text:
There are groceries still in the trunk, and a blue bag of books I need. Can you bring them in when you come home? I really don’t feel like walking back downstairs.
He didn’t respond to the text. I told myself I’d eat, write my slice and then go get the rest of the groceries and the books I want to read tomorrow. After I had been writing for a little while, he burst through the door with the books and the food.
I was only happy to see the items for a nanosecond. My husband’s annoyance rolled across the living room in an almost palpable wave.
“Could you have left more stuff for me to carry up?”
“I’m sorry.” I said.
“I’ll get the rest of it,” I offered.
“It’s just your cider,” he said.
He put the groceries away. I kept typing.
“How was your day?” he asked.
“Fine,” I said. “I’m just doing my writing. How was yours?”
“OK,” he said.
He kissed me on the top of the head, and microwaved his sesame chicken.
He interrupted me to ask about school tomorrow. His company has already announced that they will be opening on time tomorrow. The head of HR, who makes that decision, won’t be there.
It’s often hard for me to make sense of what’s just happened. This piece doesn’t have an ending. I’m just going to put on my shoes and collect that cider.