by Tracy

Standing over the array of organic vegetables at Trader Joes, he began to cry.

He’d been holding it back for days. Weeks, actually, and he thought he’d been doing really well.

They always say it will hit you where you least expect it.

They’re right.

He was 36 years old and crying into the vegetables at a grocery store.

He swiped at his cheeks, hoping to pull himself back together, but he couldn’t manage. The tears kept coming and he couldn’t make them stop.

It was organic zucchini that was his undoing.

Zucchini bread.

There had been zucchini bread in his lunchbox every first day of school of every year.

Zucchini bread and milk when she’d told him his dad had left and wouldn’t be back.

Zucchini bread and milk when he’d gotten an F in science in 7th grade.

Zucchini bread and milk when he got his driver’s license.

Zucchini bread in his first care package at college.

Zucchini bread when he brought home his first serious “real” girlfriend.

Zucchini bread when he’d announced his engagement.

Zucchini bread on the counter of his apartment when he’d come home from his honeymoon.

Zucchini bread as a housewarming gift for his first house.

Zucchini bread waiting at home when his son had been born.

Zucchini bread and milk when she’d told him she was dying.

Zucchini bread, he realized, there in Trader Joe’s, was her I love you.

So the tears came. Not just because there would be no more zucchini bread, no more I love you.

The tears came because he couldn’t remember what it tasted like anymore.

Follow Tracy on Twitter: @some1tookmename