Zest Lit Issue 2, October 2013 - Page 80

Nina | Lori M Myers

Chicago's North Side was heavy with thick ice atop the foot of snow that had fallen two days before. Freezing winds blowing in from the lake assured that an already dangerous landscape would remain white, then grey until spring. Nina pressed her nose against her apartment window and saw a neighbor emerge from one of the block’s small square houses and balance like a tightrope walker on the slick surface. Part of Nina wished the man would fall - splat - so she wouldn't have to stare at the physical and mindful reflections of herself in the glass; she with mostly brownish hair drooping to the shoulders, matching eyes revealing her insomnia, pale skin in need of sun and surf. Behind her, a living room crammed with yard sale finds: broken dolls; board games missing pieces and instructions; scarves with tags still attached; microwaves and coffeemakers purchased from a going-out-of-business sale at a store that had held seven more of those sales since she’d been there. Nearby were several old portable television sets she couldn't watch because bags with clothes and knick-knacks hid the screens.

Her mother called her a hoarder and sick in the head, but Nina told her she could locate any item in a finger snap, and that was the difference between hoarding and organized chaos. There were other failings her mother brought up often, all discussions beginning with pointed questions: ‘When are you getting married? I want to be a grandmother. You're 39-years old, Nina, and no spring chicken. You know that?’