#Bonus 6: Shopping Trip
Enzo’s laughter was infectious as I jumped down off of the hood of my car.
The raccoon incident, the nearly- abandoned cake mission, and now my car being towed-it was absurdity that could only happen to me.
“Ridiculous,” he chided, grinning as he dialed the tow company and climbed into his truck. With the tow truck on its way, he put the truck in gear and began to drive down the road toward town, an unspoken agreement between us that the cake plan was still on.
As we drove, I leaned forward and turned on the radio. I smiled as the radio crackled to life, filling the truck cab with the rhythm of one of our favorite songs.I couldn’t help but sway in my seat, mimicking the dance moves we had mastered in our living room.
After everything, after all of the pain, we now lived a life in which we could dance freely in our bright and cheery living room, holding each other’s hands and singing out of key to our favorite songs, twirling and dipping until we were so out of breath and covered in sweat that we fell down onto the plush couch.
Enzo caught on quickly, bobbing his head to the beat while maintaining a watchful eye on the road.
Our laughter echoed in the small space, dissolving the tension from the
raccoon showdown. The spontaneity of our little dance-off was like a soothing balm to the frantic pace of our preparations, a reminder of the joy we found in each other’s company. “You think we could sneak this song into our wedding playlist?” Enzo asked when the song was over, his eyes sparkling with mischief.
“Absolutely,” I replied, laughing. “The guests would love our dance routine.”
Enzo made a face. “Maybe they’d love your dance routine,” he chuckled. “Not mine. I’ve got two left feet.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. Enzo, despite all of his grace on the ice, was a clumsy dancer. My father insisted that we perform a traditional dance during our reception, which we had been practicing relentlessly for.
But even our instructor, who came to our house three times a week to give us lessons on the dance, seemed to have resolved that Enzo would be a lost cause. He was going to step on my toes” and mess up the moves to the dance, and everyone would just have to live with that.
“It’s so close,” I said in a wistful tone of voice as I looked out the window. The pine trees rushed by us on either side, almost as fast as our wedding was approaching. “You sure we’re not moving too fast?”
Enzo was silent for a moment. I glanced over to see that he was
gripping the steering wheel tightly with his free hand. He shook his head. ” No such thing,” he replied warmly. “I love you, Nina. I don’t wanna wait to make you my wife.”
Enzo’s words made me smile. I still couldn’t quite quell that melancholy feeling in the pit of my stomach over the fact that my mother likely wouldn’t be attending my wedding; but Enzo seemed firm in his promise that she would come, and so I decided to trust him. I did tell her repeatedly in my letters and voicemails that I was getting married, and I sent her an official invitation. The wedding was only a couple of weeks away now; maybe she was packing her bags to come and visit at that exact moment.
“We did pretty good, didn’t we?” he asked, a proud look on his face. “After everything…”
I nodded before Enzo could finish.
“We sure did,” I agreed, picturing our vibrant, welcoming home. It was a necessary balm to the pain of everything that had happened that year; a new beginning, a suture to close up the open, bleeding wounds of everything that the Crescents and the Luna did.
Now that those wounds were held shut,
they could begin to heal. The bleeding
had already lessened, and it would only be a short matter of time before they clotted, and eventually scabbed over.
Maybe we would give into temptation and pick at the scabs, yearning for the pain, yearning to rip the sutures out so we could experience that grief in order to not let go of the people we had lost.
But we wouldn’t. We would let those wounds heal. We would bandage our hands, clip our fingernails short so we couldn’t rip at our delicate flesh. Then, someday, there would be nothing but faint white lines.
Little scars, white mounds of flesh that traced along our veins.
We would never forget, but it would hurt less and less over time.
The grocery store was a quick affair. I was on a mission, dashing through the aisles to gather the baking supplies we needed. Enzo trailed behind, his laughter following me as I filled our cart with bags of flour, sugar, and a variety of cake mix options.
The cake, I decided, was going to be the highlight of our engagement dinner. Chocolate with peanut butter frosting; an overly sweet delicacy. The sugar would linger in our mouths for hours. I needed something sweet like that.
The journey back was a joyful continuation of our trip, our conversation filled with shared dreams and laughter. But as we neared our house, Enzo unexpectedly veered the truck into the hardware store’s parking lot.
“What are we doing here?” I asked, a quizzical look on my face.
“Just need to pick something up. Wait here,” he said, leaving me in the car.
As I watched him disappear into the
store, I found myself humming along
to the soft melody playing on the radio.
my mind wandering to the cake I wound
A few minutes later, he returned, a small bag clutched in his hands. The light-hearted demeanor was gone, replaced with a somber expression that hadn’t been there before. He climbed back into the truck without a word and gently set the bag down in the back seat; I couldn’t see what was inside.
I wanted to ask, to fill the silence that had replaced our laughter, but I held back
The forlorn look on his face gave me pause. Maybe his wound was more open than mine was, somehow. Maybe he had lost more blood. I could sense that he didn’t want to talk about whatever was in that bag, that whatever was in that bag was an extra suture to close up the corner of his wound that was bleeding the most.
As he started the truck and steered it towards home, I took his free hand in mine and gave it a squeeze.
The gesture, although small, was a silent promise of my presence; no matter what, no matter how much blood he lost and no matter how many times he would pick at the scabs, I would be there by his side.
It was what fated mates were for.