Until very recently, I had a five-year-old bag of pistachios in my cabinet.
I know, that’s weird.
Five years ago, on a Friday morning, I was on the phone with my mom and I could hear Dad in the background. “Is that Julie? Tell her to get me some pistachios,” he was saying. Mom was trying to arrange something with me, I don’t remember what, and she was like, “Just a second, Ron.” He was not having it: “I’m just saying, tell her to bring me some pistachios….Joann?… Joann!….Tell her to bring pistachios!” (The memory of this is making me laugh, by the way.) I interrupted, “Tell him I’ll get pistachios, my gosh.” And we laughed, and she told him, and that was that. I did get him some pistachios that day, but Dad went into the hospital early the next morning, and he did not come home.
And then I didn’t know what to do with this fucking bag of pistachios. Give them to the kids? Throw them away? … What is the appropriate way to handle the last thing you tried to give your dad? Somehow they had attained some kind of weird significance in my head, like a symbol of everything we had lost. I couldn’t bear to do anything with them, and so I put them in the cabinet where I keep baking supplies. Way in back.
That’s where they stayed for years: behind the vanilla and the Christmas cookie sprinkles. Occasionally I would move things around in that cabinet, looking for baking soda or something, and catch sight of that bag. Every time it was jarring: Dad wanted pistachios. I bought him pistachios. But I never gave him the pistachios. I’m sitting here, trying to explain the tangled knot of sadness and loss that this stupid bag of nuts came to symbolize, and it’s sounding so trite and overwrought, and of course it is. But there you go: I couldn’t deal with an undelivered snack, and so they languished in the cabinet for five years.
I don’t actually know what happened to it. Over the holidays, I went into that cabinet to get something and realized the bag was gone. I assume Dave found the bag in there at some point, thought, “WTF is this?” -and tossed it. And as I stood there, waiting to see how I felt about this new development, I heard my dad in my ear, in his gravelly, no-nonsense voice: “Those nuts went bad four years ago, for Christ’s sake.” And like that, all the strange significance I had created around them disappeared.
So, anyway. Dave recently got rid of a completely unnecessary bag of pistachios.