She watches the people coming and going. **There will be more people later. Mom will be one of them in about an hour.** Every now and then she recognizes someone, but she does not call out to any of them. The man who runs the Chinese food place looks tired, as usual, and there are two kids who never seem to go to school. A homeless man staggers across the street and collapses in front of what used to be the convenience store, until it finally went under. **It's a little early to be drinking.** She glimpses a certain familiar face and screams. The crowd closes around the tallish middle-aged man and she jumps up, straining to see. There is no one there. **I didn't see--it's not possible. He's dead, he's dead... I didn't see him. I didn't.** Still denying, she scours the streets with her eyes, knowing that what she hopes for cannot be true. Finally accepting it, her heartrate slowing to an approximation of normal, she takes three deep breaths and goes back inside, no longer wanting to see people walking. **I will make dinner, like Dad used to do.**
In the kitchen she pulls out a dusty cookbook and pages through. There, in cramped handwriting, are his notes. "Nutmeg good here." "Too much salt." "Bake 5 min. longer." Tears begin to fill her eyes. **I can do it. I'm tired of take out food. Soup looks easy enough.** She pokes around for ingredients, putting them on the counter as she goes: a can of corn, two carrots, most of a chicken breast, some dried apples, slightly withered mushrooms, an onion, and some garlic. She reaches for a large pot from on top of the refrigerator. **Almost got it, just a little more...** She tugs on the handle, and all the pots come crashing down, bouncing on the floor and ricocheting off the chairs.