Excerpt from In Which I Buy a Refrigerator by Betsy Woodman


The following short story appears in our Spring 2016 issue. The entire issue is available for immediate download.

I’m standing in Sears looking at a dozen different models of refrigerators. Let’s see—what size do I need? 18 cubic feet—19—22—25—27.6? Freezer on top or freezer on bottom? Single door or French doors? Ice maker? Water dispenser in the door?

Most of these refrigerators seem very expensive to me, since the last time I bought one, it cost $450. I’m eyeing a $1,500 model, which is closer to the low end than the high. It’s possible to drop $10,000 on a refrigerator, and have it decorated with custom art to go with your kitchen’s color scheme. I’m sticking to black.

Suddenly, a scruffy-looking bearded guy with deep-set blue eyes is beside me. Oh Lordy, it’s Hank. He shows up at the most inconvenient times. Now he steps closer and murmurs in my ear, “Simplify, simplify!”

Easy for you to say, I tell him silently. You’re a ghost. Ghosts don’t have to buy refrigerators.

BETSY WOODMAN is the author of Jana Bibi’s Excellent Fortunes, Love Position Number 10, and Emeralds Included, published by Henry Holt & Company. Betsy spent ten childhood years in India, studied in France, Zambia and the United States, and now lives in her native New Hampshire. She was a writer and editor for the award-winning documentary series, “Experiencing War,” produced for the Library of Congress and aired on Public Radio International. Please visit www.betsywoodman.com. Photo credit Joanna Puza.

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