Grocery Shopping with Leo

“I think that’s everything.” I looked through the contents of the partially full trolley, then back at the paper.

“You forgot green peas,” Leo reminded, peeking over my shoulder.

“Right!” I marched past the frozen food section and toward the vegetables area, with Leo wheeling the trolley behind me as he followed. How could I have forgotten the green peas? I needed it to make dad’s favorite salad.

“Isn’t this quite a lot for a two-person Thanksgiving dinner?” he asked, leaning forward over the handle of the trolley and watching me as I looked through the various packets laid out to find a good set of peas.

“It is when you look at it like that but we’re big eaters, especially my dad. You would be surprised if you saw how big the turkey is.”

We walked over to the check-out section of the supermarket, joining the long queue which I wasn’t surprised to see. It was the day before Thanksgiving after all. I back-tracked so I could stand next to him near the trolley handle with my purse already in hand.

“It’s real sweet of you though.” Leo’s words caught me by surprise. I looked up to see his eyes fixed on mine, with an odd amount of warmth in them. Was that a compliment? Clearing his throat, he broke his gaze, eyes scanning the content of the trolley as he explained, “I mean, for you to trouble yourself this much to make a nice dinner for your dad.”

I smiled, realizing what he’d meant. “I try. We haven’t had a proper Thanksgiving together in years because of...” Leo nodded, understanding where I was going with that. “Last Thanksgiving had been spent eating take-out with him when he got home from work really late. And the one before that, him and my mom had fought over who I’d spend it with. I can’t remember the last time I spent a nice Thanksgiving with him.”

The line got shorter, and I paused talking momentarily as Leo moved the trolley a few spaces forward.

“Besides, I barely see much of my dad since we moved here except on the weekends but even then, he’s working in his study. Since he’s the sole earner supporting both of us, I can understand why he’s so busy all the time. This Thanksgiving, I just want to spend some proper time with him.”

“That’s...really considerate of you.”

I smiled at Leo. “It’s what families do.”

He absorbed my words like he would that of a teacher’s in a lesson. It’s almost like he couldn’t relate to my words. Knocking my elbow with his, I said lightly, “You would know, with your big family dinner coming up.”

All too soon, the warmth in his eyes was sucked away and replaced by the usual distant look, the expression he most often wore. “Sure,” he muttered halfheartedly. There was more to it than just that word of reluctance but I didn’t ask as we pulled up to the cashier.

The End

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