She squished together the crusts of her toasted sandwich in such a way as to make its peanut butter innards spill out of two sides, and when they did, followed it with her tongue, down one long edge of the bread, around the corner, and up another, transforming it from a gooey bead into a shiny ribbon. It was what she had eaten for breakfast and for lunch, and now again for dinner. She’d scarcely arrived here, in this forgotten little cottage, what was it—three weeks ago now? Her grandmother’s old stove was completely missing: where it had gone, or who’d taken it, she hadn’t a clue. The Kelvinator fridge still worked at least—a miracle, considering the relic it was—but the person who last lived in this tumble-down house had thoughtlessly abandoned perishables when they left: she’d never seen a stick of butter in that condition, nor smelled one. The mask she wore the morning she scooped the moldy mess into a garbage bag did little to stop her gag reflex.
Three weeks out, and the fridge still reeked in spite of her unrelenting efforts to sanitize it. And in spite of the three open boxes of Arm & Hammer she placed inside it, for whatever good they did. Or maybe the odor was permanently stuck in her nose, an olfactory memory that would stay with her forever. More likely, though, it simply stank and would probably never be the same again. Oh, what a shame! Bran would be horrified if she could see her once tidy little kitchen’s condition now. That’s what she was thinking while she sat here at her grandmother’s ancient drop-leaf table in the quiet of the house, straddling the chair in a distinctly un-ladylike way, with her bare feet threaded under the chair and hooked around its two back legs.
She swiped at the corners of her mouth with her fingers, now losing herself in her thoughts, allowing ideas to enter and leave her head stream-of-consciousness fashion. Finally she settled on the idea of nature versus nurture, and wondered whether anybody knew the answer to that irksome question. And what of fate, or destiny? Did it play a hand in the situation she found herself navigating now? She needed a soundtrack for these ideas: how about, Billie Holiday—crooning God bless the child that’s got his own, that’s got his own.
Perfect, she thought. She resolved to get her own—that is what she would do.