She left my dad and me one fork. Maybe it was the third time she moved out. I can’t remember exactly. I was in the 5th grade, and she took all of the silverware except for the one fork. She took the pillows, too. She took Christmas presents. Another time she took the dining room table and the afghan my grandmother had knitted for me when I was two.
After a couple months gone the second wife would always come back, and so my dad refused to buy more silverware. I remember a friend spending the night and the look on her face when I explained we couldn’t have cereal for breakfast because we didn’t have any spoons. (Dinner hadn’t been an issue–we’d had pizza.) That’s when I started bringing home sporks from Wendy’s.
Dad and I couldn’t eat at the same time until we had those sporks, which often broke in ice cream.
She came back, of course–with the silverware but not the Christmas presents.
Those specific details say many things about characters in fiction. This is the kind of person who leaves and takes more than her share. This is the kind of person who believes she will come back and who thinks she’s worth the emptiness in the kitchen drawer. Do my dad and his second wife look like those people in the photograph?