It had been a long time since I’d woken in someone’s arms. And not since college had that man been rock hard and ready to go again.
I was sore but my body was sated. “Where are we?” I squinted into the morning.
“We’re about two hours from Dyvos. Maybe a half hour to Mykonos if you want to go somewhere fancy for breakfast.”
“If I had a change of clothes I’d be all over that.”
He was beautiful: completely unabashed in his nudity, his smile as bright as the sun above us. “There’s a place called Mina’s on Corfu and they make a pork belly hash that’s out of this world. I want you to taste it. We could be there inside a day.”
“I need to open the taverna tonight.”
“Come here.” I went willingly and was cuddled and kissed for a few heavenly minutes. “Let me take you to Corfu,” he said, his breath tickling my ear. “Tonight we can sleep on deck and make love under the stars. Say yes Kate.”
“I have to make a salad. And I was going to make apple pie.”
It took two and a half hours to get back to Dyvos. Daniel didn’t smile once.
Min was in the courtyard with a bucket of water at her feet, a towel on her lap and one of her chickens circling. She was frowning at her hands. Then she was frowning at me. “What happened to my fruit salad?”
“Daniel took me sailing. Then we broke up. But he kissed me goodbye. What are you doing?”
“Look at my hands.”
“You have two of them,” I observed.
“The nails are crap. I look like Farmer John. Men like women who look feminine, not who look like Pa Kettle.”
“Who cares about men anyway? Let’s become lesbians and stop shaving and we can smoke French cigarettes.”
“How do you make the leap from lesbians to smoking? And did you have some fun last night?”
“Why do you care what men think? Maybe you had some fun last night.”
“I never have fun, I’m uptight and my nails are crap.”
“Well I had great sex and was falling in love but then he turned into a sullen teenage boy. I can’t fall in love with a sullen teenage boy. Why don’t you manicure yourself?”
“I’m going to wash my hair.”
“How? Plan to dump the bucket over your head?”
Min crinkled her nose at me. “Yes,” she slowly admitted, “that’s what I planned…”
“Let me get something to eat,” I sighed, “and I’ll wash your hair. But I ain’t touching those nasty nails of yours.”
“You would if we were lovers,” Min said, lost again in the contemplation of her fingers.
“He was amazing.” I spilled a cup of water over Min’s hair, the water turning her hair darker. “Not just the sex and that was good, but he made me feel…” Unashamed, I wanted to say. Uncaring of my body, beautiful in my skin.
“You’re prettier than you think you are.” Min’s eyes were closed; she was wearing a very worn floral skirt with a man’s t-shirt. Bare feet, dusty from our courtyard. “You’ve never thought highly of yourself Kate and it’s the worst thing about you. You change people’s lives and think you’re nothing special while you’re doing it.”
I didn’t know what to say so I said nothing. I picked up the shampoo bottle and squirted some onto my palm. “I was drowning and you saved my life,” Min continued. “It’s so crazy but this place is more home to me, with you and the chickens, then all my years living with Patton in Alabama. I wish you knew.”
My fingers massaged soap through her hair, bubbles gathered on dark red hair, little rainbows of color on the greatest color in my life. “I know that you make me better,” I said quietly. “You make me braver Min. If you didn’t come here with me, I probably would have run home after a week.”
“Misery loves company.”
“Crazy attracts crazy.”
“So is Daniel crazy? And did you really break up?”
“He’s not crazy; he’s just not very mature. Or responsible.”
“I guess he doesn’t have to be. That feels good. A little hard but good”
My fingers were digging into her scalp and I eased up. “I can’t run off at a moment’s notice because Daniel wants to eat hash on Corfu.”
“But it’s tempting.”
“Damn straight it’s tempting. But not doable.”
“No, it’s not.” I bent over and picked up the cup, scooping up water. I spilled it over her hair and watched the bubbles run in rivulets down to the ground.
“Am I the only one with a love life? I asked.
“A sex life, yes.” Min kept her eyes closed as I spilled more water over her hair. I gathered her hair in my hands and squeezed out the excess.
“What about love?” I asked.
She opened her eyes and the towel that was sitting on her lap flipped over and was quickly a turban as she straightened.
“I’m falling and I don’t want to. All I know about men is what Patton taught me and we know what kind of teacher he was.” I kicked at the chicken who looked ready to peck at my toes. It avoided me easily. “But Nick is different. At least he seems to be. The only question is whether I’ve changed enough.”
I sat down on the bench and stretched my legs out in front of me. For one of the first times in my life, I didn’t want to get a witty comeback. Apparently I had changed too.