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by Genevieve Hicks

     He stepped up on the stool and reached to the back of the cabinet to get the can of gourmet olives that he bought last year on sale and had saved for this occasion. His shoulder hurt from the effort of reaching overhead. He spent so much time in the easy chair watching TV that his body had fallen into a state of disrepair. He shook his head and rubbed his shoulder. The holidays forced him to get up from his easy chair and go visit his sister.

     It would be too much for him to carry the entire five pound bag of carrots and the can of olives to his sisterís house. One had to climb up twenty steps to her front door to have the pleasure of visiting with her. He had considered asking his guest to carry the food but then decided instead to keep half of the carrots for himself as the solution.

     His guest would arrive soon, and he had assured her that she did not need to contribute anything to the annual Turkey Day dinner. This would be the first time that he had brought a guest with him to his sisterís house. He liked having her as company. He didnít mind missing his TV show if she was going to be with him. Today would be the first time that they had done something together outside of his apartment.

     She lived in a neighboring apartment and had insinuated her way into his life two weeks ago. She did not require much of him, not sex nor money. That worked out just fine for him because sex seemed too athletic of an endeavor for him at this point. When had he become so soft and lazy? It seemed like his life revolved around his easy chair and TV.

     When his guest arrived she was wearing a bright red dress instead of the black uniform that he had always seen her in. Every day for the last two weeks, she had come right to his place from work, reeking of food and grease. They watched TV together. He stayed in his easy chair, she on the floor between his legs with her back resting on the chair. He would have liked to elevate the leg rest of his easy chair and get more comfortable, but these are sacrifices one must make in a relationship.

     As they were walking to his sisterís house, she became curious about what he had in that paper bag, and when he finally did tell her they were halfway there. She stopped walking and grabbed the bag from him to look inside, hoping that his response of carrots and olives was a joke. She stared at him and then suddenly said, "You canít take carrots and olives as a dish!" He didnít respond but continued to look straight at her, and, finally, she turned around and walked back towards their apartment complex.

     He marched forward with carrots and olives, step over step, up to the top of those twenty cement stairs and through the front door of his sisterís house. In the kitchen he could hear his sister say to herself, gourmet olives again! And whereís the other half of the carrots? She didnít ask him where his guest was though.

     After a long quiet meal with his sister he wondered to himself if maybe he should bring a cooked side dish to Christmas dinner this year.


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