I'm oddly taken with it, though, but then I suppose that's because I know what happens next. ~g~
Staring blankly into the mirror, she twists methodically at the last few loose strands of hair, tucking some behind her ears and some underneath the arms of her glasses. Powder, perfume - still the bottle of her mother's, she doesn't go out enough to have come anywhere near finishing it - a touch of pale lipstick which jars so badly with the memories painting the inside of her head that she almost takes it off again, her hands already reaching for the vicious red in the top drawer. In the end, she decides to leave things as they are.
She feels old, as she steps carefully down from her front door and the scattered rain begins to undo the last hour's work on her hair. It's colder than she expected and the coat she's wearing is the short one she used to wear for going on dates; she'd forgotten how short it was, and how it fails to keep the cold out. Shivering, she begins to walk, heels clicking on the pavement, skidding and grinding slightly on stray pieces of gravel. By the time she reaches the bus stop she is wondering whether anything she's wearing is right, but as she pulls the inadequate coat tighter around her, her knuckles glance off the pendant under her blouse and she knows there's at least one thing she's wearing that can never be wrong.
When the bus arrives, it sprays dirty rainwater in a fine shower over her skirt, and she reaches up to touch the pendant again, clinging to its unlikely security.
The first thought she has, can't help having, is that he hasn't changed. It's such an obvious thing to think that she dismisses it entirely; of course he's changed, they all have. She knows he won't be looking at her and thinking the same thing, though her outward appearance hasn't changed that much. Short hair then, and long hair pulled severely back now; glasses, now, but the way she does her eyes is the same and she's sure he'll remember.
Eyeshadow. A flash of memory, of pain and shame and want choking deep in her throat. Suddenly she's glad of the rain and the cold, and that's when he looks up from his nervous contemplation of the cobbles and his face breaks, really breaks, into a smile, and she wonders if her first assessment that he hadn't changed was really so far from the truth. His smile is boyish but twisted, bitter before its time, the same as always, letting her know he's glad to see her, and that he remembers everything.
To go for coffee with him would have been to sit swallowing one another's lies. For a few moments, as they stammered through a desperately awkward greeting, she thought that might be all they'd do, just lie to one another for hours in the name of keeping out the cold. Then he looked down at her and memories came to her like the slash of a stanley knife and she couldn't help herself; "Come with me," she'd said, and he'd only nodded, like he hadn't been expecting anything else.
Also, I would really like this cold to be gone by now. I ache all over. I hate being ill, damn it.