Through the scent of damp cardboard, she helped him fold the box flat and place it in the trunk. When they arrived home, Harry carried the box to the basement. Rachel relaxed into the embrace of the familiar blue wallpaper; the bookshelves of Tolstoy, Shakespeare, Stanislavski, Jung; the smells of fresh laundry and oil heat. She turned the radio to a classical station and moved to Tchaikovsky as she warmed beef stew and slid biscuits into the oven, nearly burning her arm when her oldest rushed into the kitchen with an announcement. “We’re being attacked by ants!” In the hall outside the bathroom, the children surrounded Rachel as she assessed the situation. A brown animated pipe cleaner ran down one side of the window sill, across the ledge, into the bathroom trash can, where the ants apparently found her sanitary napkin irresistible. “We have to spray!” commanded Andrea. “Their nest probably got flooded in the rain today. They’ll leave as soon as the sun comes out.” Rachel felt empathy for the wrecked homes of this world. Besides, she’d rather rummage for Scotch than bug spray. “Come on; dinner’s ready.” She placed stew and buttered biscuits on the table and mixed her first Rob Roy of the evening.
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