She’d left his jar of Branston Pickle untouched.
Each time Sylvia opened the fridge (so much emptier now), she could see that it had developed a layer of tufted mould. Grey fuzz coated the cubes of veg and that sickly sauce she hated, but he’d loved.
A year had passed and suddenly, erupting with anger, she slung it hard into the bin and flinched at the thud.
For the next few weeks, each time Sylvia opened the fridge, all she could see was the empty space.
She didn’t want to fill it with some other condiment. The mustard, the piccalilli (her preference), the horseradish, each already had their place. The gap gnawed at her aching heart, a negative space filled with his absence.
Pushing the trolley through Waitrose, she saw that there was an offer on. She knew it was a daft thing to buy. He wasn’t there to spread it thickly on a doorstep of white bread, always before the cheese (he had been ever so particular). But it went in the trolley, moved along the conveyor belt and then into her eco-bag. So many chances to put it back on the shelf, none taken.
The next time she opened the fridge, things felt normal again. Grief still, but just a tiny bit less absence.