Zora Neale Hurston sat, so-called Indian-style, on the edge of the bed scratching dried semen from the inside of her right thigh. In the periphery of her vision, an ant crossed a wrinkle in the cream-colored sheet that covered her lover. She considered picking it up and placing it on the poorly tiled floor but it was a lost cause. Nature had crept in through the cracks where the floor didn't quite meet the cement wall and crawled straight into their bed. Well, Tia Vilma's bed that they had occupied for two weeks and were due to occupy for another two.
In three months, said lover, an Afro-Chinese Cuban guajiro with a pierced penis (mid-shaft; called a perla), will marry a 45-year old white American middle school teacher from small town Kansas and relocate to the US. Meanwhile, Zora will turn 24, enter her second trimester of pregnancy, and, hopefully, finish paying off a four-year old credit card debt.
Dorothy called an hour ago, a few minutes after they'd finished making love or whatever (Zora's never been completely comfortable with that phrase), as Wifredo Lam was telling Zora how satisfied he was, how happy, how much he loved her. Unlike Ashanti, he is always there when she calls. Zora, who has 36 unheard voicemails that she plans neither to listen to nor to delete, wonders if it's his lack of familiarity with modern technology that makes him so available or his fear of jeopardizing his chance to leave Cuba.
Que país! he says when se va el corriente. Does he think the electricity never goes out in Yuma?
He hasn't seen Wizard of Oz. Whats the opposite of "we're not in Kansas anymore"? We're still in Kansas? We'll always be in Kansas? We never were in Kansas? The only thing I know about Kansas is that there's a city in Missouri named after it. And, I think, Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" was set there.
If you know of a better way to say "they laid intertwined" please let me know because it's easy and overused... But that's what they did - Zora and Wifredo. In the middle of a Cuban mattress, old, khaki, covered in indecipherable stains. Inclined towards the middle where years of use had collapsed the springs. This mattress had experienced the Periodo Especial.
Wifredo placed the phone in between them. Zora laughed at Dorothy's broken Spanish - the 30 seconds it took her to complete each clause, how she expressed every word as if it were a question. Some 45-year old woman, she thought, so indecisive with language. But then Dorothy ask-states that she's sending her paperwork for their marriage to the Cuban embassy tomorrow.
Wifredo wished Dorothy good luck with all the gusto of a man who has to watch porn while inside of his soon-to-be wife in order to maintain an erection. Zora played it cool for the embryo's sake. Nobody wants to emotionally damage a quarter-of-an-inch lump of cells that's just developing ears.