“Waste not, want not.”
Her mother’s motto forever, but one far more pronounced as she grew older.
On Jenna’s weekly visits, she found rinsed-out freezer bags from the dinners she’d brought her mother, in the dish drain. Bags still too greasy to reuse. (Her mother used to run them through the dishwasher until they melted around the blades.)
The tattered piece of aluminum foil she reused daily, to wrap up her english muffin so it wouldn’t get cold while she ate her hard boiled egg.
A sponge worn down to a sour sliver.
“You’re going to use paper towels?” Marge said, when Jenna accidentally kicked over Fat Cat’s enormous ceramic water bowl.
“Use the mop.”
“It’s too much water.” It was a flood and quickly pooling along the grout toward the living room rug.
“I’ll get the mop,” her mother said, turning toward the hall without her cane so she began to teeter….
“I’ll get it,” Jenna said. The old self-wringing one, grey from too many mopping years.
Jenna smeared the water around so instead of a pool, it was a lake.
“Oh, dear it’s all over the kitchen now…”
Jenna began to seethe. “Don’t you have to go to the bathroom?”
“You usually have to go…”
Her mother complained about her too-frequent bathroom trips, how they would come on her suddenly, almost too late.
“Oh, all right…” and as she turned around, carefully traversing with her cane around the lake, and out of sight, Jenna grabbed the whole roll of towels. She used way more than she needed to mop up the lake. Until the floor was dry as a bone.
She found too much satisfaction for a daughter who held to the same “waste not want not” motto in her own home, where she didn’t even use kitchen sponges but reusable dish cloths. A satisfaction that would metamorphose into a gnawing guilt on the hour drive home. A guilt that made her miss her mother as if she were already in her grave.
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