Tupperware by Ladee Hubbard

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A woman reflects on a life built on the shards of disaster in this story from Ladee Hubbard

for Isa

After she threw up she felt much better. She always did. Alone in the bathroom of her brand new condo, washing her hands with the shell-shaped soap. She dried them with the monogrammed guest towel then opened the door and walked to the kitchen, filled a glass with ice and poured herself a rum and coke.

She gulped it down, peering at her daughter over the rim of her glass. The child was seated alone in the dining room with her elbows on the table, reading travel brochures beneath a small halo of overhead light. Dressed in sweatpants and a bright red hoodie. With her father’s eyes and her mother’s nose and a small faded bruise on her left cheek.

At least I got her out, the woman thought – a thought that often comforted her when she had cause to wonder whether or not she’d been a good mother. In a few hours the girl would be leaving, heading off on a long trip through the woods to visit her grandmother, and the woman could not help but worry that the child was not prepared. She’d tried, of course, but also was aware of how much she had not yet found time to explain. For example: why there were no men in the house with them. The truth was the woman had lost many things in the flood, had had no choice but to start over without one.

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