(You can listen to this piece on S2E42 of the podcast)
“Janet, is this peach marmalade you bought?”
Janet’s twin sister Brandi narrowed her eyes as she rotated the 8-ounce jar in her hands.
“They were out of apricot jam,” her identical twin said, casting a wary glance over her eyeglasses. Red, cat-eyed frames that made her look like a wannabe sexy 60s librarian except it was hard to hide the fact that she was a harried stay-at-home mother of three who was just trying to drink her morning oolong tea in peace. Brandi sucked her teeth but broke the marmalade’s seal anyway. A click then the mechanic sound of springs releasing as white bread sprung from the toaster oven. Brandi placed her toast on a saucer then snatched the Country Crock butter from its perch on the top rack.
“We’re almost out,” she said, waving the tub so that her sister could see.
“You mean, we’re almost out,” Janet corrected her. “As in the family whose pantry you raid almost daily.”
“Janet, you know my situation at home—you want me to starve?”
“Fine, sure. I’ll add Country Crock to my grocery list.”
Brandi nodded with a sigh of relief and both women cast a glance out of the kitchen window facing the busy morning street. Outside, exhaust filled the air from morning commuters and idling cars keeping bus riding kids warm on the late November day in Connecticut. Dog walkers made their dutiful routes down the block. Laughter from clusters of kids being rushed into van pools peppered the cold air with warmth as their excited voices echoed down the block.
“Bye mom! Bye Aunt Brandi!” chorused Janet’s three teens. A lively bunch of stair steppers.
“Bye lovelies!” Brandi responded.
“Be good,” Janet said.
The door slammed shut.
“It’s another Monday,” Brandi announced.
“Another Monday,” Janet parroted back between sips of tea.
“You know, the peach marmalade isn’t that bad,” Brandi admitted after taking a bite of toast. An easy silence fell between them before Brandi broached the elephant in the room.
“The kitchen renovation is done, isn’t it?” Janet asked, shooting her sister a knowing look.
“Yeah,” Brandi sighed.
“But you’ll drive over tomorrow morning, too?” Janet probed.
“And that’s because…”
“I’m lonely,” Brandi said, smiling sadly. “Just wait ‘til you’re an empty nester.”
Outside, the pinging sound of a bouncing basketball punctuated the tenor voices of high school jocks making their way past the window.
“The peach marmalade isn’t so bad after all?” Janet said after a few moments.
“I can live with it,” Brandi said, eyeing her toast appreciatively.
Janet nodded. “I know you can, but I’ll try to find apricot next time.”