fiction by Elizabeth Edelglass

Variables

8:46 a.m. It is taking Annie longer to settle the twins in front of TV than she planned. Hannah wants her breakfast toast in triangles, while Esther doesn’t want hers toasted at all, but the bread is frozen, so Annie has laid Esther’s slices atop the warm toaster and bends towards the heat counting seconds, one one thousand, two one thousand… She’s learned that precisely four seconds on each side will produce bread that is thawed but still cool, almost like fresh from the store. Annie will not be going to the store today, nor taking the girls to pre-school although they’ve asked why not— what holiday is it?—will there be matzah balls? Usually holidays have craft projects at school—pink Mother’s Day cards just last week, surely Father’s Day cards in June although the teachers try to be sensitive.

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