It’s not a big fridge. You wouldn’t, for example, walk into my kitchen and say, “Well, for cryin’ out loud, check out the fridge that Pearl’s got!”
You could, but it would be inaccurate.
It’s a standard fridge, a friendly fridge. There is some unbaked cookie dough lurking in the freezer, whispering vague and imprecise promises of fat-free indulgence. There is a tremendous pot of spaghetti sauce and home-made meatballs made yesterday, sure to be perfectly aged by the time I get home. And there, on the upper shelf, the shelf that requires that I stand on my toes, behind the sour cream and the pickles and that port wine cheese spread, is a bowl.
A most unsavory bowl.
My mother would, perhaps, take this opportunity to give me that beating she claims she should’ve given me in my formative years, one possibly involving a shot of water from the hose at the kitchen sink and a Minnesota State Fair yardstick. She wouldn’t be far off the mark here, frankly, because even I, a bucket-o-bleach-water-and scrub-brush hardened cleaner of other people’s homes was taken aback.
Because at the back of the fridge?
A little bowl of fuzz.
Blue and white fuzz, to be precise, just enough to cover the bottom of a carefully covered, smallish bowl.
What was it?
We will never know.
Please bow your heads.
We’ve come here today in search of sustenance, of fare both sweet and salty, and to mourn the loss of whatever you figure might’ve been in that bowl.
It warn’t much of a bowl, a small, humble bowl, really; but it did it was made to do. It held something. It held it securely, it held it with integrity, and, apparently, it held it for a good long time.
But what it held, that’s the mystery, because like many of us, it’s not the clothes we wear, it’s what’s inside those clothes that is interesting. You and I are careful to hide the blue and white fuzz of our lives, cautious in hiding our rot to the world, but the little bowl did not have that option. Tucked behind the refrigerator pickles, behind the half-and-half and the pickled herring, the bowl waited, slowly going fuzzy with neglect.
The tautly stretched plastic wrap was never disturbed.
The bowl waited in vain.
Today, using that plastic wrap to scoop out the moldy, almost experimental contents of that bowl, now dropping said bowl into the hot, sudsy water of the kitchen sink, I am reminded of my brother, the man who once bit off one of my fingernails in an attempt to get a larger bite of my sandwich.
“Hey. You gonna eat that?”
Good-bye, fuzzy kitchen leftover. Whatever you were, I should’ve eaten you.