Zest Lit Issue 2, October 2013 - Page 82

something silly only the two of them understood. They’d send her flowers just because it was Tuesday or make her a candlelight dinner without all those fussy strings attached. It wouldn't matter who he was or what he talked about as long as he made her feel the electricity in the air. Instead, she waited, and bought, and collected, and stuffed her menagerie of material things into the four small rooms of her apartment.

Nina looked out at her frozen neighborhood as a car slowed, then parked in front of her apartment. It was Joe, who tonight would fill the space just fine, just right. Joe, another true-blue working class husband, who needed to know how he could win back the love of his life: his wife. And he needed Nina’s help to do it.

She opened the door and felt a burst of cold as Joe shuffled through, head down and without any sort of greeting or small talk. A big brute of a man, his quiet demeanor defied his looks. Nina helped him off with his puffy jacket and folded his scarf on some boxes near the entrance. He wore oil-stained khaki pants and a wrinkled collared shirt beneath an ill-fitting red and black plaid sweater vest that looked like it had shrunk in the wash.

‘Tell me what to do, Nina.’ Pinprick tears formed in Joe’s eyes as he sat on the edge of the low futon, his knees almost up to his chest, his bulging stomach almost reaching the floor. Big as he was, he barely made it in and around the aisles. ‘I don’t want to live another second if I can’t have my Marjorie back.’

Nina stepped over the stacks of unused Christmas cards and shimmied along the narrow opening along the coffee table so she