Route 7 Review - Page 135

“Of course we did.”  The twins were in the hotel pool.  Nina’d told them she had to run out for sun screen.   “Where are they, then?  Might be the last time the twins got to see their Grandma’s pretty face.” Her mother managed a monstrous, floppy grin, and Nina did her best to smile back.  “Best thing that ever happened to me,” she said.  For the briefest of moments Nina thought she was talking about her, or her twins, or both, and she had to swallow back a gorge of emotion that seemed to make her insides sweat.   She started to thank her, but her mother interrupted. “Every time I look in the mirror, I smile now.  I’m ugly, for the first time.” “I don’t--” Nina began. “I know you don’t, baby.  You’re lucky.”  Her mother turned her good eye on her, noticed her expression.  “It was a cage.  Gave me nothing but pain.  Men couldn’t see past wanting to have it.  Kept me tied to the ground.  Jason took it for granted.” “Bill,” Nina said. “What?”   “Dad’s name is Bill.”   Her mother cut a look at her, then tried to straighten the bedclothes.  “Goddamn sheets are like sandpaper,” she said.     J.K.   Jason. Erin made the connection, skimming Wikipedia with her baby attached to one nipple or the other. “You have to meet him, Nina.” “No, I don’t.” “He’s a train ride away.”  Which was technically true.  Manhattan was just down the line from Nanuet, but she’d never told Jackson about the letter--not that she had anything to hide--and making up an excuse about a trip downtown would be a lie on top of a lie.  Besides, a year since her mom died, eleven months since she received the letter and the money, six months since she’d given any of it a thought. Too much to deal with. “What else do you have to do?” Nina looked around the house and then the empty February squares on the calender.   “You’d be surprised.” “The stresses of a kept woman,” Erin said.  “I wish.” Nina said nothing. “It would be good for you,” Erin said.   “Like he’s made of broccoli.” “You know what I mean.  The Nina I grew up with would be jumping up and down.”