Corned Tuna

Everybody likes corned tuna, I thought, watching a middle-aged man in rimmed glasses drop three cans of the canned food from the shelf into his basket. My mother had brought me to the supermarket with her to buy some groceries for me at the studio and we were at the canned goods aisle. I’ve been having a sort of loathing for preserved food so the aisle didn’t feel as appetizing even with the purchasing power of my mother. I’ve also been broke and it was an opportune time to get anything just in case. Just in case. If it hadn’t been for the man in rimmed glasses, I wouldn’t have wanted to get anything from that aisle. You like corned tuna. And you’ve told me stories of other people liking it, your father if I’m not mistaken. Oh, yeah, corned tuna, I said. Go ahead my mother replied, smiling. After deciding between chili and the original flavor, I grab one, two, three cans, copying the man in rimmed glasses. I paused and thought- about you-“would this be enough?”- four , five. One, two, three, four, five - five cans of corned tuna in the basket, we left the canned goods aisle and moved on.

I only unpacked the groceries the day after my mother and I bought them, the same day after you left the studio as well. I didn't get enough sleep that day and desperately needed a reason to get up, unpacking the groceries seemed the only thing sensible to do. I first transferred some of the powdered milk from the massive can my mother forcibly bought into two glass jars. I arranged the packets of oatmeal cookies on the shelf, and placed the sugar in a sealed plastic container. All the rest; tea, biscuits, pain relievers, I put in their right places until only the five cans of corned tuna were left. I hesitated, dumbfounded, watching them stand from inside the plastic bag. When I went back to my senses, I took them out of the bag. I barely looked at their labels, unlike what I did with the rest, checking if they were healthy enough to eat. One two three four five, five cans of corned tuna, I counted repeatedly as if I was never sure of the count. Finally, I arranged them in a line like a platoon of stocky tin soldiers, cold little cylindrical things, I never even got to show them to you as sort of a surpise. I wondered what to do with them now that you’re gone. With a sigh, I closed the cupboard door gently – oh well, everybody likes corned tuna.