The deliveryman came at lunchtime, when Mona, still in her bathrobe, was rummaging through the pantry, looking for something to eat. Three packets of pasta, all of them half-empty and sealed with blue plastic clips, sat on the top shelf. On the bottom one were two bags of lentils and a jar of preserved lemons from the specialty store down the street. Then, behind a bottle of balsamic vinegar, she found a packet of instant oatmeal, which she held up as if she'd won a prize. There was no need to go out. “Be right there,” Mona called when she heard the doorbell. She tightened the belt of her robe, ran her hands over her mass of tangled hair, and shuffled to the front door of her house. She looked, she knew, exactly like the kind of woman she had once promised herself she would never become.
A tall, well-built man in a brown uniform was waiting at her door. He seemed surprised when he saw her—she was usually at work at this time of day.