Crack the Spine - Issue 178

Page 32

Benjamin Harnett Natalia

Natalia watched her mirror-self transform as she applied first emerald and then turquoise eye-shadow. She reached down to the pile of eye-liners on the sink and picked up her favorite liquid black, pulling a long line across one lowered eyelid, then a slight flourish, then the same, repeated for her other eye. After applying a pale foundation to her cheeks and a daub of rouge, she covered her lips with a pomegranate shaded lipstick. She pursed and dabbed the excess, tracing the line of her lips to finish. If you had asked her, point blank, transforming from what into what, she probably couldn’t have said, only that people who put in no effort, well, she was still young enough not to let herself go. “Pyotr,” she called, while picking through her tray of earrings, “you shouldn’t let Nicos drink like that!” Pyotr didn’t reply. He was stalking around somewhere in the apartment, and probably hadn’t heard her through the door. Nicos had embarrassed himself last night, Natalia thought, when he cornered her in the kitchen. She wrinkled her face at the memory.

Nicos had been a Communist for a while in college. “It got to be too much work,” he’d joke. “You know, with the protests, and the standing in the rain.” Didn’t it make it hard later, you know, people always asked, with the government job? “This is the 21st century,” he’d say. “They don’t really care about this kind of stuff anymore.”