She stands in the kitchen, hand on the cupboard door handle, staring in at dishes, but seeing nothing more than the scene replaying in her head for the thousandth time.
His face, his lips moving.
“It’s not enough.”
The sound of her world crashing: the steady ticking of the clock.
She is startled back to the here and now by the cat, jumping onto the counter top in front of her, meowing loudly. She had been looking into the cupboard for its dish.
“Fuck off puss cat.” She mutters as she picks up the slinky animal and drops it to the floor beside her where it persists, twirling itself around her ankles in fluid motion. She shuffles to a nearby drawer in search of a can opener before remembering that she never did find the dish in the first place, trips over the cat, booting it off to the side as she shuffles back.
All these dishes, what the fuck does she do with all these dishes? Single people don’t have this many dishes, she knows it, she had been single before. Single people particularly did not have matching sets of dishes. In those days she would eat from mismatched dinnerware, plastic bowls from the dollar store, a favourite mug pilfered from her mother, a plate from someone else’s kitchen, acquired when they sent her home with leftovers or a tray of cookies. Sometimes she would fore-go dinnerware all together to stand in the kitchen eating Kraft Dinner out of the pot she had cooked it in, right off the large plastic mixing spoon she had used to stir in the powdered cheese.
Now she looks in at the two full sets of dishes. Eight place settings in total. Enough dishes to invite friends over to share in dinner parties, or potlucks, or to sit at the table and have a wholesome family meal.
Families never stood alone in a messy kitchen eating straight out of a blackened pot.
They had picked out the dishes together, choosing the heavy, square-shaped black and burgundy plates and bowls because they were different, unique; and that appealed to both of them.
Corelle dishes, marked as “unbreakable”, yet when she had taken them out of the box at home, one had shattered, tiny pieces littering the inside of the box, ceramic dust clinging to the insides of bowls. She had gone out later that evening and bought a new plate to replace it, feeling the need to keep the set full and intact.
She wonders how many times they had shared meals together on these plates, how many times she had attempted to cook something his finicky tastes would enjoy, how many times they had pulled slices of pizza from grease stained cardboard boxes to place upon them, how many times he had eaten from them knowing he would soon leave her.
The cat chirps in anticipation and unable to find its aluminum pet dish, she takes down one of the square plates, dumps the can of food on it, and drops it to the floor in front of puss cat, who eats hungrily.