Comfortable


ago
2 min
32
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Qualified
“I got Fruity Pebbles,” David says before setting down his load of groceries in the middle of the tiled kitchen floor.

“Cool, thanks.”

He opens the refrigerator door with his foot but it swings closed before he can put the two gallons of milk on the shelf. “Would it kill you to eat something else? I mean, my budget thanks you, but I’m not sure your blood sugar does.”

“It might.”

Cereal takes zero effort. That makes it a win in my book.

I rise from the couch and pop two places in my back before moseying to the kitchen to hold the door for him. The milk, a giant block of cheese, racks of ribs, a roast, and several sacks of fruit and vegetables into the fridge later, he stands up straight and nods.

“Much obliged.”

“Catering weekend?”

“Just a little one. Fifteen people watching the last Cowboys game of the season on a projector,” he says, checking several things off a list from his pocket.

I grab the box of Fruity Pebbles off the counter and rip the cardboard top open. David winces when he sees me take the whole top off; I know that drives him crazy, but I keep forgetting. Too late now.

“You need that much meat for fifteen people?”

“Okay, I amend my statement: fifteen men having a football party are paying me four hundred dollars to barbeque for them.”

“Geez, you ain’t cheap.”

“I use a homemade barbeque sauce made from sixteen different ingredients, a double smoker, home-baked bread, and Granny Lindsey’s potato salad recipe. I better not be cheap.” My uncle’s eyebrows twitch the same way my brother’s used to when I made fun of him.

I raise my fresh bowl of drowned Fruity Pebbles in salute and take a big bite, trying to remove the image of my brother from my mind’s eye before it’s the only thing I can think of for the rest of the day. “Sounds great,” I say, a drip of milk making its way to my chin.

David rolls his eyes and leans on the counter. Good, I think. He didn’t notice anything. If he sees me cry one more time, I swear he’s going to take me to a hospital or something. I don’t need that in my life.

“I’m gonna get you to eat some real food one day, and then you’re never going back to that rainbow crap again.”

I nod. Honestly, I like David’s food. It’s a huge step up from anything I’ve ever been able to make. But it also tastes like home. Things are bad enough when the whole house smells like bread, like Tyler used to make. Tyler was probably the only fifteen-year-old boy in the country obsessed with making his own sourdough, and I really got tired of having bowls of it rising all over our counters, but now I miss it. I miss it so bad my stomach aches.

“Thanks,” I say through a mouthful of already-soggy cereal and David smacks his own forehead with his palm.

Settling back into the couch with my lunch, I grab the remote and push play again on Supernatural. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve seen this episode — the one where Dean almost dies from a heart attack but a faith healer and a reaper bring him back. I have to watch the DVD because “Don’t Fear The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult is missing from the Netflix version and the episode’s just not the same without it.

It’s one little detail, really, but it changes so much. I think that’s why I keep sitting here. So many things have changed, but this is still comfortable: the show, the Fruity Pebbles, the couch from my old house. And comfortable is the highest I can reach right now.

‘Good’ is just a little too far-fetched, even two weeks after the funeral.
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