The magic of kindness

Charlie shut the door. His fingers wiggled on the plastic handle for a moment, then he swung the refrigerator open again. The sandwich was still there, obviously. A sandwich may just appear out of nowhere, sure, but why go disappearing again?

He took the container out, closing the door with his foot, and set his lunch on the table. The bread dimpled enticingly at his touch and the crisp slice of dill dribbled down his chin. He caught himself smiling in the relection from the stove and decided it was just the pickle's bitterness pricking at his facial musceles.

The doorbell chimed and Charlie stood, still clutching the sandwich's remains and chewing thoughtfully.

"Hurro, Mae," he grinned, round-cheeked.

His neighbor blinked up at him. She was a tiny thing, really, with the look of someone built all of elbows so even her most graceful movements seemed lanky and overdone. Mae tightened the knot of her scarf, tugging distractedly at the puckered ends. "Hi, sorry," she said, "Could you look after Alice, maybe, again?" Her heavy eyes flicked up, briefly, and back down again.

Charlie swallowed. "You leaving for a while?"

His neighbor shrugged, as though the various Walmart bags around her ankles were someone else's and she were just planted among them. "Yes. Well. Three days, tops."

"Your brother?"

She frowned, but didn't answer. Instead, she gathered the bags up, stringing them along the length of her arm. The affect was akin to a leaf pearled with eggs. She stammered, "I hate to - you might have to go shopping - sorry. We've got - uhm - all we had went to the bus ticket," her eyes were blurring under standing water and Charlie merely nodded, remembering to tuck the roast sandwich behind his back as she tottered away.

The End

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