It’s a hot day in July, and Marcia is sitting on her porch with tears in her eyes. Her boyfriend of four years, Vincent had just told her that he doesn’t have the emotional maturity or financial readiness to stay in a long-term relationship. He pointed to the fact that he couldn’t keep a steady job, his anger issues haven’t been resolved, and that he cannot be the man Marcia needs him to be. While Marcia appreciated the honesty, the pain still existed. But Marcia then decided to learn from the breakup by examining her life. Marcia is a talented cook and always wanted to enroll in culinary school then start a nonprofit organization which gives hot meals and food packages to the less fortunate in her city. But she put those plans on hold once she got together with Vincent. At the time he had a stable job, was fun to be aound, always told her he planned to marry her one day and he even made small steps towards this goal by researching premarital counseling services in the area. However, he was fired from his job and lied about this to Marcia while constantly asking for extra cash to get through the week. When Marcia figured this out, she was upset but forgave him when she noticed that Vincent was actively looking for work. But again he was fired, and he still struggled with feelings of inferiority despite Marcia’s encouragement. In addition to this, Vincent started becoming flaky and missing scheduled dates with her. Now that her relationship is over, Marcia has decided to start a new chapter in life by experimenting in the kitchen with a series of post-breakup meals.
So she goes in her 90s poster-decorated cupboard and takes out some chicken stock, a half bag of toasted almonds, a can of carrots, a can of greens and a bag of penne pasta. But she then realizes that there is no more meat in the house because Vincent ate the last of it so she’ll have to settle for a vegetarian meal, which she’s not a big fan of. She also doesn’t have anymore salt and black pepper because she used the last of that for Vincent’s breakfast last week before the breakup. Thankfully, she has some wilted and expired herbs for her meal. As Marcia eats her first post-breakup meal and drinks a glass of leftover apple juice that Vincent left in the refrigerator, she looks back on the flavors from his presence that are now gone.
It’s the next morning and it’s also Marcia’s off day from her job at Thrift Supermarket. She has another week until payday again so she went to her purple paint-covered money jar and took out twenty dollars to get lunch items from the local Farmer’s Market. She purchased four tomatoes, three eggplants and a bag of golden raisins. Once she got home, she became excited about making tomato puree for her creamy vegetable soup but realized that Vincent still has her Joy of Cooking book from when he tried to cook for his parents’ anniversary a month ago. But that was okay because Marcia still had her friend’s version of this recipe in her file, and the soup came out just right. A few hours later, she decided to fill out the culinary school application and seek out financial aid options.
It’s now 6 p.m., and Marcia is hungry again. She decides to fix a pack of ramen noodles with leftover curry powder that Vincent never used. She also found his favorite can of chicken noodle soup, an almost-finished bag of frozen spinach he left behind, wontons he never opened and some ground ginger that he used most of in the weeks before the breakup. Marcia takes these and creates a ginger-chicken soup with curry powder and spinach.
Fast forward a year later, and Marcia is now in culinary school and still works at Thrift Supermarket. But she has no more leftovers from Vincent in her home, and she is taking a break from the love scene at the moment.