Tuna Sandwich by Joyce Randall

I got home around four. At least that’s what she tells me. She comes into the bedroom to wake me up, tells me she’s eating lunch and I should get up. Four in the morning, she says. You could barely talk, she says. But, I point out, I made it home okay. I couldn’t have been too far gone. That’s when she gets excited. But you don’t remember how! You don’t even know how you got home! Yelling as if it were the worst thing in the world. I tell her, I got dropped off at the corner of Steele and Fifth and walked the rest of the way. So I do know how I got home. I just can’t remember whether someone drove me there or if I took the bus. See? See? she yells. You can’t remember. God knows what could have happened to you.

She knew I was going to be late. She tried to go to bed but couldn’t sleep so she’d made a sandwich and waited up for me. It was a tuna sandwich with tomato and lettuce, the tuna done the way I like with mayonnaise and a little tabasco. The real mayonnaise, not that low fat garbage. She says I put my elbow on it. She tried to warn me, sitting there with me at the table as I tried to get my shoes off. She said, watch your elbow, and then I put it on the sandwich. But I don’t remember this.

She’d made the sandwich and put it on a plate and put it in the fridge, so it would be fresh for me when I got home. This was around midnight, she said. She watched tv for a while and then did some tidying up. Swept the kitchen. Cleaned the sink. Tried to go back to sleep. Started to worry when it got around three. She was hungry so she took the left-over tuna and made another sandwich. She had just enough to make half a sandwich. She ate that and then watched some more tv. They were showing an old Liz Taylor movie, the one where she and her husband are drunk and always yelling at each other. She says she thought to herself, watching Liz Taylor drinking bourbon and screaming at Richard Burton, Well, I guess things could be worse.

Then I got home. She tells me I made a terrible racket coming through the door. Trying to undo my pants so I could use the toilet, I lost my balance and knocked my head against the towel rack. I’ve got a bump where I hit it, but at the time I didn’t feel a thing. She tells me I was slurring my words, not making much sense. I put my elbow on the sandwich, ate half of it, took off all my clothes and stumbled into bed.

Now she tells me she wishes she hadn’t made that sandwich for me. That she should have just eaten it herself and not worried about whether I might be hungry when I got home. You can make your own goddamn sandwiches, she says. From now on the only person I make sandwiches for is me.