“What you need is a nice relaxing spa day,” your college roommate tells you as she leans over your desk and nudges a stack of papers until the edges come into alignment. And it reminds you of all the spa days you and your sister shared when you were in middle school, begging for the latest issue of Jane from your tired mother while you waited in line at the Shop n' Save, both of you small behind a cart piled high with frozen bags of chicken nuggets, two-for-one boxes of pasta, and that juice that came in a tube and still looked like a tube, softening in the bottom of a stained, plastic pitcher. Later, once you got bolder, you’d put a Cosmopolitan and a single sleeve of Reese’s on the dirty belt and mom would say, “Stuff will rot your brain,” but not make you remove them. Then when she was gone working a double or with her "friend," Rob, you and your sister would bring that magazine into the kitchen and mix, so carefully, recipes for D-I-Y face masks of eggs and yogurt and honey. You would paint each other’s faces and make tea, sipping it slowly in the ripped kitchen chairs, with the used bags of Lipton placed over one eye, then the other. And how you wish you could be there again, wasting hot water in your mother’s shower, sitting with your sister under the stream, when you proudly open the door of your faux-wood paneled mini-fridge and show your college roommate these things—eggs, and BOGO yogurts, and store brand honey—that you spent a quarter of your monthly food allotment on, and say, all possibility, “Look what I got. For a spa day.” How you wish you could be so still, mask washing away, rivulets of milky white dripping down your neck and trailing across the fiberglass tub floor, as your roommate looks back at you and says, “I don’t get it,” laughter already spreading across her face.
Stephanie Devine’s work has recently appeared in Atticus Review, Fiction Southeast, Treehouse, and Glassworks Magazine, and is forthcoming in Louisiana Literature and Pembroke Magazine. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing at Georgia State University, where she is the Fiction Editor of New South.