The Last Drop
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You loiter on the stair landing, listening to your mother talk with her best friend Phyllis in the kitchen over coffee and crullers and a shared pack of Virginia Slims that you know Mom keeps hidden in the brown sugar canister so your dad won’t find them. Her voice wraps around the bite of cruller in her mouth and you hear her say either the word “separated” or “segregated,” you’re not sure which, but it’s enough for you to know that your appearance at the fridge would not be welcome right now. But your stomach gurgles at you, gurgles like the stove-top percolator your mom still uses to make her daily pot of Maxwell House, even though the shiny new Mr. Coffee machine your dad bought last week is plugged in and sitting on the counter next to the toaster. It’s past el...

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