“What’s wrong, Elsa?” Her hands were shaking – I’d never seen her hands shake. Was it fear or anger? “Are you alright?” I asked her quietly. She smiled, a little embarrassed. “Oh, it’s nothing really. I just – you’ve talked to Zara, right?”
Shane’s wife. A nightmare.
I refrained from saying it, although I more or less knew what had happened to Elsa by this point. “Yes, I know Zara. We’ve talked. What happened?” Her eyes widened, and she glanced around, as if her answer were sitting somewhere in the air. “Well . . . I was telling her that it seems that Shane, you now, really is a very caring father and she,” her voice faltered. “She just, started, pulling out her eyebrow hairs.” Elsa looked at me, eyes full of dismay. “She really was, Lola! I’m not making it up!”
“I know you’re not. I’ve seen it.” I sighed. At least she hadn’t dragged her nails up and down her arm until there were bright pink streaks. That – at least to me – was slightly more off-putting.
“But that’s – it’s pathological!” She pressed her lips together, and said in a quieter tone, “I think she needs help.” I shrugged. “She’s got really thick eyebrows. It’ll be fine.”
Elsa smiled, at last. “But no, really – just don’t bring up Shane.” I told her.
“That’s all I have to do?” I thought for a moment. “I think so, E. That’s always seemed like the trigger to me.” She looked at the ceiling, then sighed and straightened her shoulders. “Alright. I’ll try that. Okay.” She smiled again, but I knew we were both thinking It’s not like you’ll be here that much longer, so what does it matter.