Two young women in a tea parlor, B and C. They are cousins, one month apart. As children they shared peaches at the shore, stole quarters for skeeball, capsized sailboats and voodooed baby dolls, terrorized the lunch counter at Woolworth’s, drank beer. Kissed boys at camp dances, college clubs, church altars.
C is pregnant. B doesn’t know that C’s husband won’t allow her to the baby’s baptism, that she’ll see the pictures on the Internet by mistake. B’s mother has cancer. B’s pregnant with D’s child. D hates C, always has. C didn’t want B to marry D – after she said, “I’m attracted to someone else, I don’t know if I’m in love with D, if I ever was.”
C’s the one who has fallen in love. She’s married and she’s fallen in love. They pour each other green tea. C can’t eat. She gives her soup to B, gives her sandwiches cut into little sails. B admits, “I have no room to care. You don’t understand.” C cries and says, “No, no, no. That’s ridiculous. Of course you’ll love the baby. You’ll love her, as soon as you see her, as soon as you have her in your arms, you’ll love her. I know it.”
And B cries back and they hold each other’s hands a little, fingers shaking across the table.
B thinks about Woolworth’s, how it was the last lunch counter, maybe the last one, the last one ever. C thinks back to the sailboats in the bay. The water shifting between their skin and life jackets.
Jennifer Adams lives in Ithaca, NY, and Virginia Beach, VA. She is a 2011 graduate of the M.F.A. program at Cornell University, where she is now a Lecturer in Creative Writing. She recently completed a book of short stories, and is at work on a novel about life in the Naval Special Warfare community.
Thanks for stopping by the Sonora Review Short Fiction Fortnight. Please stop by tomorrow for Sona Avakian.