By Ruiyan Xu
The inside of the refrigerator at Anne’s house didn’t look like the one in our kitchen. When I’d be over at her house, sometimes, I’d open the freezer door just to stare at all the boxes: Ellio’s Pizza, Marie Callendar frozen pastas, tubs of Edy’s Ice creams – mint chocolate chip, coffee, cookie dough, rocky road. Then I’d open the fridge door: half eaten key lime pies, the tinfoil of chocolate bunnies left over from last April, liters of Diet Coke, orange soda, seltzer on the top shelf lined up all the way back. Anne’s fridge was always full, each shelf piled high with takeout containers and colorful boxes. On the nights when I was over, her parents always walked through the kitchen, opened the fridge door, sigh, “There’s nothing to eat,” and then ask what kind of takeout we girls wanted. I never quite understood that: to me, there was so much to eat Anne’s fridge. It was an entire world of brand names and microwave dinners and leftover takeout. I wanted to eat all of those things. I wanted to live in that colorful world.
I loved everything in Anne’s fridge; I loved the trash full of empty cartons and bottles; I loved the leftover baked ziti and pizza slices that we’d heat up at midnight. We didn’t eat like that at my house. The inside of our fridge had so few containers, so few logos. There were plastic bags full of produce stuffed onto the shelves, eggs in the door, jars and bottles with Chinese characters scrawled across the labels, Ziplocs stuffed with gray shrimp and pale-fleshed fish in the freezer. At my house, I’d look in the fridge, and I’d be the one to sigh, “There’s nothing to eat.”
Ruiyan Xu is a class of 2010 mentor alum from New Brunswick, NJ.