Annie asked her daughter to look after Sadie and took a few minutes to throw several outfits in a suitcase, thankful again for her practice of creating outfits as she folded her laundry. She put the bag in the car and double-checked the dog food in the house. Then she looked through the fridge and cupboards to see what there was for her daughter to eat for a week.
Annie knew she had no money in the bank and was dismayed to see the state of the food in the house. Sure, there was hamburger in the freezer and cans of beans and tomato soup, but one can’t live on a steady diet of chili for a week, she thought.
“How much money do you have,” she asked Zara.
“Let me check.”
The two of them pooled the money they scrounged from their wallets and purses, their coat pockets, the cupholder in the car, the basket beside the washing machine, and from under the couch cushions.
“Okay, with the $5 you have in the bank, you have $23. Let’s go to the store and see what we can get.”
At the grocery store, Annie tallied the cost of the items Zara chose with care. Zara picked granola bars, fresh pineapple, and banana chocolate chip muffins off the $2 shelf and continued through the store choosing the smallest milk and cheese packages, and the cheapest loaf of bread, among other things. Checking out was a little painful as Zara inserted the multitude of coins one by one in the payment terminal and then put in the bills and then used her debit card. “People are looking at us,” Annie said.
“Don’t worry about it,” Zara told her.
They came to within 75 cents, including tax, from what Annie had tallied in her head.
“I’m confident you have enough food to tide you over for a week,” Annie said. “I know it’ll be hard to be alone, but I have to do this for my friend.”
“I don’t want you to go, Mom, can you please ask him to come here?”
“He’s under too much stress right now to leave home and come to a house in renovation mess.”
Zara sighed and gave her mother a disgruntled look as she said goodbye.