It’s an off night for the SLHL. Jacinthe and Josey go for a midnight walk. Snow has been coming down since about ten and has left a two-inch layer of white fluff on the hardpack. It twinkles down around them. They had come out to talk about their situation in the privacy of the empty streets, but so far they haven’t said anything. They walk along in parallel tracks, stealing looks at one another. At some point they take each other’s hand, but between Josey’s Mt Everest mitts and Jacinthe’s blobby thrummed mittens it doesn’t work so well. Then Jacinthe makes a misstep, putting her right foot to the left of her left, she bumps into Josey’s side and deflects off, Josey catches her sleeve, swings her back, and the two collide face to face and kiss. It’s a long deep soft kiss. Their jaws work. Jacinthe grasps Josey’s sleeves, then slides a hand up to the back of Josey’s head to tilt it further down into the kiss. They break, panting.
Jacinthe: “That beats grade nine.”
“Make love to me,” says Josey.
“Yeah!” They hurry back to Josey’s room, lock the door, peal off their clothes and plunge into the bed.
The next morning Jacinthe is padding down the hall from the bathroom. She takes out her room key and is ready to turn the lock when somebody laughs and says, “You’re going into the wrong room.”
Jacinthe, who admittedly has her mind elsewhere, looks around, looks at the room number, and says, “This is my room.”
“Yeah,” says the neighbour, “I know.”
Jacinthe closes the door and wonders, ‘How noisy were we?’
Game Six is not long under way when both benches notice a change in Josey. She’s not finishing her checks or fulfilling any of her defensive responsibilities. She’s hanging around the neutral zone waiting to cherry-pick a breakout pass. She’s turning over the puck at an alarming rate.
Hanne to Sanna: “She’s got her head in the clouds tonight. Next rush I’ll put it to you through her feet.”
Kaitlyn: “Josey Wood seems to be having difficulty keeping her mind on the play. What’s up with that, Jacinthe?”
Jacinthe: “I dunno.”
Emily comes off her shift, unstraps her helmet, wipes the sweat from her face, and complains: “What is this shit? I don’t know what the fuck’s up with her. She’s in La La Land. We have to bench her.”
Irene: “How do you bench the player-coach?”
Louise: “Josey! Woody!! Get off!”
Henrietta laughs. “I’d say her getting off is the source of the problem.”
Several of the Hunton Harriers frown at that, and when Josey does come off they make sure she hears about it, but she just shrugs and grins insouciantly.
Each languid shift by Josey makes Emily’s next more intense, until the second-line centre is tearing around the rink hitting everything in sight. Her penalty minutes mount. The fourth time she’s sent off, Josey leans over and yells, “What the fuck is up with you?”
Emily: “What the fuck is up with you!”
Luohi win 4 to 0. It’s their second shutout in a row. At the final whistle Emily throws her stick and helmet into the snow.
The Finns provide carpooling after each game.
Josey and Jacinthe and Josey’s hockey bag all pile into the back seat and immediately the two lovers slide their hands inside each other’s clothes. The players in the second-last row roll their eyes and do what they can to shield them from view.
Sanna climbs into the driver’s seat and says, “Everybody buckled in? You two back there?”
Josey: “Uh huh!”
“Um. Uhn! Yes!”
They start off.
“I am very impressed with you girls,“ says Sanna, driving.
Laura: “Thanks. But you guys kicked our butt tonight.”
“No, no,” laughs Sanna. “I mean the way you’ve dedicated yourselves.”
“Well, we like hockey.”
“You’re so modest. But I’m referring to spinsterhood.”
“Huh?” This from the passengers in the second-last row.
“Team Isobel. Like the song by Björk. You know.” She sings:
My name Isobel
Married to myself.
My love Isobel
Living by herself.”
She radiates goodwill at them by way of the rear view mirror. “I take it that each one of you is more or less devoted to a life of chastity.”
Lindsay, a political science major, peers into the back seat, scratches her head thoughtfully and says, “I guess that depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is.”
‘Cause Josey and Jacinthe are getting’ up to stuff. No, you don’t need it laid out for you! Just jump ahead to where the van pulls in. They’re hurriedly hauling up their pants when they both suddenly reach to the floor for Josey’s tumbled-off hunting cap. Their foreheads crack together. They slump to opposite ends of the seat, going “Ow, ow, ow,” and look at each other with tear-filled eyes. Years later, in her novel Silver Lake, Jacinthe gives a great amount of weight to this.