The pain was back and she hated its dull ache. Amari’s molar was pissed about the ginger candies she found in a corner store, China…
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The pain was back and she hated its dull ache. Amari’s molar was pissed about the ginger candies she found in a corner store, China Dollar, on Nebraska and Sligh. Decorated in dozens of neon-colored paper lanterns with metal wire bins to the ceiling, it always had stuff you didn’t need but could use. Like a pair of 99-cent hoops or Christmas candy in July. Their ginger ones were as hard as a rock. Amari started chewing one a few minutes ago and it already hurt. Maybe the tedious pain was the point, it was consistent and manageable. Amari liked that.
“Do you know where the Tylenol is?” Amari asked.
“Should be in the drawer by the sink,” Tyler said.
“The kitchen one or the bathroom?”
“Kitchen. Who keeps meds in the bathroom?”
“People do. My mom does.”
Amari went into the kitchen, popped a pill in her mouth, turned the sink’s handle, and sipped from its faucet. She walked back upstairs, curling under a blanket with Tyler. Amari’s eyes glazed watching the TV then fastened on the world map across from the bed in their room. It had a faux-aged look to it, tea-stained maybe. A bright red tack sat on top of Madrid.
“Babe,” Amari sat up on her elbows, “why don’t we just go?”
“We got two grand.” Tyler didn’t look away from the TV. “We said we wanted five,
and I don’t want to get there and struggle with money. I’m not about to worry like that. I want to be set up to enjoy it.”
“I know, but we could put the plane tickets on a card and get jobs as soon as we get
there. We could pay it off quick, and I bet it’d be less than a grand for both of us one way. We could take the first flight out. Let’s look at tickets. I got points on my credit card too.”
Tyler turned on her side to face Amari. She poked Amari’s shoulder and smiled.
“Mmmm, yeah, we could. But what about my job? The bakery’s been good to me and I’d want to give two weeks’ notice. What about your degree? You’re like a semester from graduation.”
“Well, guess I’ll have to burn them all down so they’re not a problem anymore.”
Amari’s shoulders slumped and she let her head fall back on her pillow.
“I know you’re right,” Amari said, “I just feel… itchy. I want to leave, we’ve been talking about it for like years.”
“Takes time, you know?” Tyler brushed Amari’s hair off her face and gave her a quick
peck. “I love you and we’re gonna get there. Another year or two isn’t long.”
For Amari, it felt like forever.
“I love you too.”
She tugged at the string of Tyler’s pants untying them and kissed her hip.
“Not tonight, I gotta get up early to do the cracked wheat order for Carlos.”
The two of them hadn’t slept together since Amari had slept with her co-worker. The first time was six months ago, she told Tyler immediately. She pulled the string of her own pants and looked up at Tyler.
“Cracked wheat won’t take care of itself,” Amari said, “but I will.”
The first time, Tyler decided they would work through it. She promised a different
relationship. That they were both going to learn and grow and love each other better because
of Amari’s mistake. Amari agreed that they could do better.
“Do you want me to do it?” Amari asked, sliding her hand under the waistband of her pants. Her skin felt wet and soft. She pulled the blanket off of her body and scooted closer to Tyler. Amari had slept with her co-worker a second time one week ago. She didn’t say a word this time.
“I’d like to sleep in a minute. I’m not in the mood.”
“Me too,” Tyler said. She turned back to the TV and squeezed Amari’s hand.
Amari squeezed back and got out of the bed.
“I’m going to take a walk, I think China is still open.”
“What do they got that you need at 9 at night?”
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