When they got back to the house he spread the peanut butter on the bread and scooped out a dead lump of grape jelly and spread the jelly and cleaned the knife, then cut the crusts carefully while she watched, her brown hair, so like her mother’s, framing her sad face. Her hands were small in her lap, her face pale above the black dress. He tried to smile at her as he put the sandwich on her favorite plate, but when he handed it to her she was crying, and when he asked what was wrong she said “That’s not how Mom used to do it.”
Paul Crenshaw’s stories and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Best American Essays, Best American Nonrequired Reading, anthologies by W.W. Norton and Houghton Mifflin, Glimmer Train, Ecotone, North American Review and Brevity, among others. He teaches writing and literature at Elon University.