By Ruth Crossman
“Hey guess what?”
She’s doing something with the jars again. He’s lost track of how many she has now, but he knows they’re everywhere. On the counter, on top of the fridge, blocking his path to the almond milk. He swears they multiply on their own. He sighs under his breath, looks up from his laptop, and takes his earbuds out.
She’s holding one of them up to her face like she’s looking through it. Pickles? No. What was that thing she was into last week? Sauerkraut?
“It’s ready!” She taps the glass once, grinning at something like a root vegetable, floating in a liquid the color of marmalade.
“Cool…What is this one again?”
“The kit I told you about. The one I found on Etsy.”
“Oh. For…kombucha, right?”
She rolls her eyes. “Remember? I told you all about it. The one they did that podcast episode on.”
She hugs the jar tighter, craning her neck down. It’s teardrop-shaped, with long white strings of something leading from under the lid down to a pointed head.
“I’m sorry, Baby. Could you remind me?” He inches closer. There are dark blue eyes the size of sesame seeds. A mouth that reminds him of a frog. Arms that end in tiny fins crossed over the bottom of a torso.
“It worked. It actually worked!” She looks so excited. The sesame-seed eyes move back and forth; the mouth opens and closes, shooting bubbles up to the top of the jar. He purses his lips. The therapist said something about this.
“I’m glad you like how it turned out. I know it’s important to you.”
The fins unfold, flopping like seaweed, reaching for the inside of the glass.
His stomach feels tight.
“What do you think? Are you ready to hold it?”
It’s looking at him now, making a sound like a dolphin crying.
I thought we were doing better. He thinks. I thought we were doing so well.