Forget Me Not

Dr. Ugadda B. Kidden[1]

He pushed his cart slowly down the aisle, carefully noting the labels on the jars and cans. She hated shopping so he had always done it for the both of them; for her, really, he always shopped for her. That is, he only bought the foods she liked to eat. For example, she liked Bumble Bee brand solid white albacore in spring water. Today he reached for Chicken of the Sea in oil, which he preferred. A helluva lot cheaper, he thought.

Classico Tomato and Basil pasta sauce. He preferred Fire-roasted Tomato; he reached for the jar.

Plain olive oil was less expensive than extra virgin. The store brand was on sale.

The first time he had come home from shopping she said, “You forgot something.”

“What?” he had asked, “I got everything on the list.

“What you forgot is not on the list, silly.”

“You’re not making any sense. What did I forget?”

“Just try to remember next time, okay?”

The next time he came home from shopping she told him he had forgotten something again.

“What? What? Tell me what I forgot. I crossed off everything.”

“It’s not something that goes on a list. It’s something you need to remember on your own.”

“And if I don’t?”

“Someday I might tell you. Or maybe I won’t.”

Before they married he had preferred sliced baked ham, but he had to admit she had been right; Black Forest was better. He tossed one package of Black Forest into the cart.

The last time he saw her was on the steps of the County courthouse where their divorce had been finalized. He couldn’t help but ask what it was he’d always forgotten to buy.

“Flowers,” she said.

[1] He’s not a real doctor.