Her father shows up unannounced on a Sunday morning. She’s about to tackle a stubborn patch of something that had worked its way underneath the vegetable crisper, now removed and soaking in the sink. Leslie shifts plastic bags of green peppers, carrots, tomatoes and celery from around the coffee maker. “Sit down, Papa,” she instructs. “I’ll make us some coffee. I can do with a break.” As her father settles himself as comfortably as possible on the stool at the breakfast counter, she explains unnecessarily “I’m cleaning the fridge. It needs a good scrub.” He responds by nodding absently as she fills the compartment with water and snaps the basket of ground coffee into place, then presses the “ON” button. Turning to face him, she asks, “So, what’s new with you?”
He fusses with the pepper shaker, rocking it gently from side to side between his aging hands. “Well,” he begins, then clears his throat. “Your mother has decided that she wants a divorce.” The coffee begins to perk merrily, a happy, fragrant sound. She stares at her father as though he’s an intruder who breaks into her home, demanding a change of clothes and a home cooked meal. “What?” Leslie asks sharply, louder than she intended.