Anamaria rolled her head back with a contented groan that made Elizabeth
shiver in anticipation. She'd very much like to hear that sound again, in a
completely different context, but for now, she continued rubbing the
peppermint lotion into Anamaria's feet. "Jack and Will seem to have made up.
"Seems like. . ." Anamaria peered at Elizabeth suspiciously. "So, what do
you think of all this reincarnation crap?"
Elizabeth pushed her thumb deep into the arch of Anamaria's foot, making her
squirm. "More things--"
"Yeah, yeah, I know. I don't want to know what Hamlet thought about it, I
want to know what you think of it."
"Will's not a liar."
"I know that, too."
Neither woman spoke as Elizabeth gently wiped each of Anamaria's toenails
with fingernail polish remover. The fumes made her eyes water, and she
sniffled a bit as she said, "What do you think happens after we die?"
Anamaria pounded the nail polish bottle against her palm thoughtfully then
twisted her shoulders in an equivocal gesture.
Elizabeth held out her hand for the bottle. "'Well Proportioned'? Who names
"It was on sale," Anamaria said, a little defensively. "Besides, I like the
Taking Anamaria's foot in her hand, Elizabeth carefully stroked brick-red
varnish across the nail of her big toe. "You can't prove that it's not
Anamaria rolled her eyes. "The whole thing makes me batshit."
"Hold still!" Elizabeth held her breath as she carefully dotted the
polish on the smaller toes, then blew across them to dry them. "What does it
matter to you anyway? If it makes them happy to believe they have some kind
of eternal undying passion, what's the problem?"
"It's crazy that's what." Anamaria's tone was surprisingly sharp, and
she looked down at her feet, rather than meeting Elizabeth's eye. "Besides,
you ever stop and think about what life would be like for us back then?
You'd probably have been married off to some syphilitic old lord by the time
you were twelve, and I'd've been cutting sugar cane on some plantation. Good
Elizabeth's inner pedant started to respond before she processed all of
Anamaria's statement, "That's a myth -- about girls being married at twelve,
I mean -- the average age of marriage. . ." She paused awkwardly. Was there
something to say here that wouldn't sound like knee jerk white liberal
guilt? "Yeah, it does seem like Will's version is a little. .
Anamaria snorted derisively. "You notice how nobody was a chimney sweep or a
scullery maid? Whenever people talk about being reincarnated, they were
always Cleopatra or Napoleon or some shit like that." She flexed her foot
and admired her toes. "And now Jack wants to buy the Jolly Mon."
"Why not sell it to him? You've been wanting to buy something bigger."
"Yeah, but it pisses me off to play along with this stupid game. If Will and
Jack want the eighteenth century, they can have it. I'll take cars,
airplanes, birth control--" Elizabeth raised an eyebrow and Anamaria added
"--in theory! Antibiotics, baseball, Civil Rights. . . "
Elizabeth kissed the top of Anamaria's foot lightly, and her voice trailed
off. Climbing onto the couch, Elizabeth caught Anamaria's still
out-stretched hand in her own. Their palms pressed together, light and dark,
and Elizabeth whispered, "I like here and now too."