Zest Lit Issue 2, October 2013 - Page 86

‘It’s going to be okay,’ Nina assured him. ‘Here’s what you do. Before you leave, take a shower here. I’ll wash and iron your clothes. I have some men’s cologne. Women love a man who smells good. On the drive back, buy a bouquet of roses, then stop at a jewelry store and get her something sparkly. Go right over to her mother’s, and as soon as you see Marjorie, get down on one knee, give her the flowers and jewelry and tell her how much you love her.’

Joe looked up at Nina with a face full of hope and gratitude. ‘You think it’ll work?’

‘I know it will.’

Joe’s tears began again, and in a fit of unforeseen boldness, he kissed Nina full on the mouth. Their lips quivered and she felt faint again, but this time it had nothing to do with the vacant space in the corner. As if on cue, body against body, lips locked, they clutched each other, stood up in the confined space, and shuffled backwards and forwards and side-to-side toward the bedroom door a few yards away. Nina felt as if she were floating, light as air, looking down at herself, no longer wondering what tenderness felt like. No more would she only hear about love from acquaintances who spoke of Saturday night conquests. Nina’s feet barely touched the floor as she and Joe staggered toward her king-size bed covered with thirty throw pillows; trash bags filled with paper towels and hair supplies, surrounded by two large side tables, an armoire, dresser, and vanity table. The room was small to start with, so Nina had bought the biggest bed she could find, packed in as much furniture as she could, making sure only to leave narrow paths to and from the doorway and