One day when she was looking for something in the medicine cabinet, she found a stick of eyeliner on the top shelf. It lay against the back, one of his old prescription bottles almost hiding it. As she held it in her hand and sniffed it, it smelled of metal, nothing else. She figured it might be old and dried up from someone a long time ago, but when she opened it she saw shiny liquid, brown and permanent, on the end of the brush. When she put it back and shoved the bottle up against it, she remembered how once maybe six weeks ago she’d thought it odd that the yellow sheets were in the dryer, fluffed and powdery-smelling, when they hadn’t used them since their honeymoon. In the mirror she saw her face, sassy freckles mixed in with tan. She saw her eyes, deep and dark and startled. When she tried to picture how the liner would look on her she heaved it into the trash. At the sink, she bowed her head, smelled her hair as it fell forward. She’d sprayed perfume on it earlier, waiting for him to come home, and now it had a scent sweet and crisp like the lilacs that had bloomed earlier that month, purple and white against the deep green leaves in the yard. On one of the first warm nights she had pinned one in her hair, and as he moved inside her, she felt herself falling, as light as spring flowers. Now as she leaned farther down and her forehead touched cool porcelain she remembered the next morning, how she had wakened first. He was turned on his side away from her, his breaths a rhythm of soft puffs. She saw little petals all over her pillow, dried and brown in the pale room.
Cori Jones has won three New Jersey State Council on the Arts grants; a General Electric Younger Writers Award; and, in addition, a Second Place win in Narrative Magazine’s Winter 2010 Fiction Contest. She has completed a first draft of a novel, EBOLA U. Her flash fiction has appeared in Cease, Cows; Nin; and The Good Men Project. Cori is presently living in New Jersey with her second husband and two cats. She has been teaching for decades at Raritan Valley Community College (NJ), where she is an Associate Professor. She will retire this June.