Normally Friday was garbage day, but when it fell on a holiday, they collected a day early.
Thursday morning, after Rachel was off to school and Bert had left for work, Betty wandered through the house, making sure all the cans had been emptied. Normally Rachel was in charge of taking the individual cans scattered throughout the house and dumping them in the kitchen trash on Thursday nights. That way Bert could take out the trash on his way to the car Friday morning.
Since the garbage was running early, some cans had been forgotten. She gathered up the trash from the main bathroom, then the laundry room, and finally checked Rachel's room. The can was full to the top.
Betty sighed. The girl was going through the rebellious phase: sixteen going on twenty-one.
Betty, rubber gloves in place, picked up a handful of trash to shove in the larger bag she was toting. There among the Clearasil pads, wadded up notebook paper, and wrapped up tampons was a used condom. Betty dropped everything quickly into the larger trash bag.
A condom! She hadn't even known Rachel was dating anyone, let alone having sex. It shouldn't have surprised her that her daughter was sexually active. They'd always been open in their discussions about sex, but she'd still nursed the hope that her daughter would wait 'til she married.
"At least she's practicing safe sex," Betty murmured to herself. "I guess I should be thankful for that."
She spread the large bag wide and picked up the smaller can, dumping the rest of the trash all at once instead of handful by handful.
More than a dozen used, soggy rubbers were buried at the bottom.