Joe shoved one shoulder through the door. His bag caught on the frame and he tugged it free with a growl.
“Is that you?” Lorna’s voice coiled down the straw sized hallway.
Joe dumped his bag on the four tiles making up the foyer. “Yeah.” He slid off his shoes and headed toward the sound of chopping. As he walked, he leaned to the right and left, avoiding the frames on the walls like a down hill skier navigates posts.
The thimble of a kitchen opened up on the right. Lorna stood at the counter squished between the sink and wall. A bowl of whole eggplant and onions sat between her feet and another of chopped carrots filled the sink. She tossed sliced onions from her square wooden board on top of the orange slices and looked over her shoulder with a smile.
“Hey,” he said, taking the single stride forward in order to peck her on the cheek. “Careful with that.”
She waggled the knife at him with a grin.
Joe leaned against the looming refrigerator. “Can I help?”
“I set the table already,” she said, scooping an onion from the bowl on the floor. “You could fill the glasses?”
“Sure.” He pivoted and opened the fridge door as he ducked down. A thud of heavy plastic and sliding magnets met flesh. The door bounced back against his arm and then metal met wood in a clatter.
“Ouch,” said Lorna.
Joe straightened with a white wine bottle in hand. “You ok?” He flung the door closed as he saw red coating the finger Lorna had pressed to her lips.
“A cut…” she mumbled.
Joe searched for a place to put the bottle and settled on the top of the fridge. He took her hand and examined the small wound.
“Here,” he said grabbing a sheet of paper towel from the roll clipped above the sink. “You know…”
Lorna pressed the wad of paper onto her finger and glared at her hand.
“Don’t start on this again.”
Joe folded his arms. “We could have so much more space.”
“But I like this.” She glanced at the narrow doorway. “It’s cozy.”
She scowled at him and wacked the back of her hand onto arms. “You’re just a big lug.”
He shook his head and tried not to smile. “No, my problem is I’m not an ant.”
“Joe…” Lorna sagged against the brief counter.
His hands cupped her shoulders and her head tilted down to her hands. “Think about it. We could have more than two people over at a time. We could have a dishwasher and a bathroom with a tub. Instead of cramming all of our stuff into one closet, you could have one and I could have another.” He bent his knees so he could catch her downcast eyes. “It’d be great…”
“But we’ve been here so long. And a bigger place just means we’ll get more stuff and then that’ll be too small too…”
“So this is small?”
She heaved out a sigh. “It just seems ridiculous to move and fill up more space with more clutter.”
“But if we had a bigger place, we’d be able to actually enjoy some space. The walls wouldn’t be our only decoration.”
Lorna frowned down at the stained paper on her finger and Joe’s hands took hers.
“Give looking around a chance. If not for me, for your fingers.”
She chuckled and had a grin on her lips when she glanced up at him.
“They’re going to be here soon…”
“Lorna. Don’t push this off again.”
“Moving is a pain.”
“We have next to nothing to move.”
“I don’t want to go shopping.”
Joe’s eyebrows both rose. Lorna’s cheeks colored and she avoided his gaze by diving into the disturbed magnets on the fridge.
“Ok,” she conceded. “That could be fun.”
She poked him with her bound finger. “But expensive.”
“You’re the queen of thrift.”
Her lips pursed into a thin line. “I should finish chopping.”
“Look with me, that’s all I ask.”
“The wine glasses need to be filled.”
She signed and stumbled over the bowl on the floor as she attempted a conversation ending swing back to the counter. Joe clamped his mouth shut and simply caught her elbow to help her steady.
Joe kept the smile from entering his voice. “Saturday.”