On holidays Mo sees her brother and his wife for the meal. They are all getting old now but this custom remains. The wife, who never forgets a slight, still hates Mo from early days.
Things are always the same. Their house always too lavish, and Mo always(more) the guest. A savoury, table-buckling meal is served which she eats hungrily, being hungry, but can never enjoy knowing the swill of dirty dishes is growing higher. She feels a sense of duty although she doesn't know how her sister-in-law expects things done. This never-understanding is one of the reasons Mo is resented.
What is washed in the sink? What goes in the dishwasher? How does that expensive machine work?
And Mo doesn't know where to find Saran-Wrap for leftovers.
What is saved? What's thrown away? (She doesn't often have such dilemmas.)
She is not reverent enough about certain things: the wineglasses, the heavy-bottomed saucepans that need a special cleanser she doesn't know about. The meal begins to turn into weight: the weight of richness (butter, gravy, second helpings), the weight of duty and ignorance.
They joke about serving her the children's cider, stating a teetotaller (is Mo such a thing?) could not appreciate the good wine. Mo laughs along, although the wine does taste sour. How can they be drunk? She doesn't want them to consider it a wasted glass.
She's nervous about the cost of things around her, the casual excess. Plentiful wine, the stereo whose music gets on her nerves, the swampy-sweetness of vanilla candles.
Her gift is always soap and lotion. Not personal but costly. Not chosen for her, Mo is certain. Just extra, more idle purchases of an idle woman (her sister-in-law), with money and time. Nothing Mo could afford to replace, should she ever want it.