Paul never liked the refrigerator.

His husband had been the one who wanted stainless steel. “But fingerprints wipe right off this one,” he explained when Paul pointed to an eggshell model across the showroom.

The refrigerator had drawers for everything from vegetables to meat to fish. Why would anyone need a separate drawer for fish? “They wouldn’t make them if they didn’t do something,” he assured Paul as the movers placed the garish appliance in the loft’s tiny kitchen.

A few months after installation, the refrigerator started making a sound like a ball machine was positioned just inside the freezer, firing off a new round every twenty minutes. “Don’t worry, Paul, this thing will outlive us both,” he sighed, thumbing through the owner’s manual.

Paul wishes he could see how well it fit the condolence cakes and casseroles. The fish drawer held a tin of pasta salad with ease. Then again, if he could see it, he’d never let up. “We got our money’s worth, Paul. I told you we would.”

Elle Hurley received her BA in Literature from Oregon State University. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her partner and believes that the combination of cat nuzzles and Freddie Mercury’s voice can cure almost any ailment.

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