In the summers, she and her brother would open the refrigerator and stick their heads inside it. In the orange glow of the light inside, the smell of curd, carrots and spinach would invade her nose.
While she couldn’t quite remember a time without it, it always felt new. The rules of the fridge were constantly evolving. What could be put inside it and what couldn’t?
The fridge was their household collapsed into cold storage. Leftover love heated and placed in tiffin boxes for their lunch. The bottle of Rasna that was made with copious amounts of sugar and suspicious looking flavouring that lasted about 4 days during the summer vacations. The fridge was full of little stainless steel vessels and cups. A little potato curry in this one, five spoons of dal in the other.
She opens her own fridge, many years later, and is assaulted either by its emptiness, or the sheer amount of plastic. Not the comforting tupperware plastic that suggests that someone overcooked, or that meals have been planned. Nor the clinical emptiness of a fridge when everyone is on a holiday.
Just a bare fridge. Its insides smelling of neglect. Almost empty. You know something is wrong when not even leftovers make it. A few tomatoes refusing to go bad. Nothing rotting. Yet. But bare. Just like their relationship.