“Why Grape-Nuts Cereal Is No Longer So Easy to Find”
—New York Times, 1/29/21
1. Your own teeth, pulsed a few times in the Cuisinart.
2. Tiny blue gravel from the fish tank you haven’t cleaned out since your guppy, Lucy, died.
3. Gingernuts, the only preferred food of Bartleby the Scrivener.
4. The bigger white pebbles from Lucy’s tank. You can’t bring yourself to get rid of the aquarium because that would mean she’s really gone, and you have to start living again.
5. A handful of orange Tic-Tacs after you’ve sucked the orange flavor out of them.
6. A grape’s nuts.
7. The water from the fish tank, in the hopes of ingesting some small part of Lucy so that she can live on through you. You know it’s not entirely rational.
8. All-Bran Buds®: the melancholic woman’s Grape-Nuts®.
9. A parfait of ingrown toenail clippings and strawberry goat’s milk yogurt.
10. Shards of glass from the fish tank after you threw it on the ground in a display of grief that a certain unnamed roommate called “performative” and “maudlin.”
11. A handful of wingnuts. Some of them must have been holding the tank together—you like to think of them as Lucy in angel form.
12. Unpopped popcorn kernels from the bottom of the bag that an unnamed roommate yet again failed to microwave for the correct number of seconds.
13. The little clay house you made for Lucy in your Zoom pottery class. She spent almost all her time in there (she was an introvert).
14. Dry dog food. But no more pets. You don’t have the strength to go through this again.
15. The cardboard box the aquarium came in, diced, boiled into a pulp, and desiccated. You can’t put the aquarium back in the box, as they say, just like you can’t go back to a life that had Lucy in it. But at least now the box won’t be taking up space in the closet, so that the person who shares this apartment with you can have more room for her hideous tie-dyed velour sweatsuits.
16. Ball bearings coated in sand.
17. A single grape and a handful of nuts. This represents a certain underwhelming PB&J made by a certain roommate in psychedelic athleisure who was miserly with the jelly when it was her turn to make lunch.
18. Lucy’s eggs, which you extracted and froze before her burial in case you ever felt ready to love again.
19. Your new pet rock collection.
20. The zippers from ten tie-dyed velour sweatsuits, rented in a paroxysm of anguish because without Lucy you’ve only got one roommate now, and it’s the one you like the least.