“It’s a marriage fridge,” Nina said, her mouth turned up in the hint of a half smile, as she watched the young woman standing in her kitchen. Both of them were a little awestruck, the woman gazing upon a future that to her seemed completely foreign and unknown. Nina, for her part, was scoffing, but not at the woman, at herself. When was the last time she’d gazed at anything with the wonder she saw reflected in this woman’s eyes? She tried to recall and couldn’t, and she laughed at herself for falling into the trap of adulthood, without even noticing the fall.
Why do we do that? she thought, as she bustled about the kitchen, stowing plates of leftovers, and wiping counters slick with moist towels, avoiding the woman still rooted to her kitchen tiles. She wanted to allow the woman space to process, and in the chaos inevitably created by organization she maintained an eye for the woman’s rumination, a safe place.
The woman stood stock still, eyes tracing every corner of the fridge, every picture, every face. “I’ve never seen one of these in real life before,” she said, her voice breathy in a way Nina had never heard before, and hadn’t expected. Now Nina did laugh, loudly and from her belly, her half smile giving way to a full blown grin, eyes crinkling in that way of hers—both taunting and kind. The woman turned from the kitchen fridge and Nina met her eyes. Why do we do that? she thought again, looking at this woman who was still really only a girl, and wondering when, exactly, she had lost so much time. Why do we stop allowing ourselves to dream?
She turned her back to the woman, the hint of a half smile now back, sardonic but not unkind. “Well Cam,” she said, walking toward the door to collect more plates from outside, “you’re young yet.”