November Bloom: "Savor All"
Many thanks to Kath S. for inspiring this month’s flash fiction story. She noted the benefits of all the community refrigerators that started appearing on New York City streets in 2020, of which many have remained in place.
“You can’t leave that thing there,” Marjorie Mae yelled from her front step after the driver of a truck labeled Savor All set his delivery down on the sidewalk. He placed it in front of the new six-story building next to the single-family house where she had lived for forty-three years. Last year, Philadelphia officials had opened the apartment complex for who Marjorie Mae called ‘those people’. Ignoring Marjorie Mae’s mounting rant, the driver returned to his truck.
“If my son were here, he’d, he’d, he’d….” and when the driver drove off, Marjorie Mae stormed back in, slammed her door, and stifled tears while soaking in photos of her only son. The pictures, ensconced in plastic frames, sat on a table next to her faded fabric sitting chair. The last time she’d seen little Davey, he’d appeared at her door on a February night underdressed, undernourished, and unkempt, begging to borrow money for yet another business. Marjorie Mae had relented yet another time. That was six years ago.
Marjorie Mae began daily vigils focused on that sidewalk delivery, a refrigerator. She watched people wearing Savor All shirts stock its shelves each morning. She watched fathers with toddlers, mothers with grandmothers, teens with siblings, and others queue to get food from the public refrigerator each afternoon. One day Marjorie Mae caught sight of a familiar figure stooped at the end of the line. He took his share, looked toward her house, hesitated, and hurried away. She’d seen enough of his face to confirm who he was, who he’d become- a distant version of the boy in her photos.
The next day, Marjorie Mae walked to the local grocery store for her weekly shopping. She added extras to her cart and on the way home put them in the refrigerator-a loaf of bread, five apples, a dozen eggs. She also squeezed in a six-pack of the chocolate pudding little Davey loved as a child. Back inside, she moved her sitting chair even closer to the window. She vowed to sustain the vigil for her son, and for who she now called ‘her neighbors’ in the Savor All lines.
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