Title: “The Light, The Heat”
I had looked forward to meeting up with Elise for coffee that morning. It had been too long. What had it been? Seven years? The anger I had for her had faded though as I had seemingly racked up success after success. I had heard she had not changed much. I eagerly waited for what she had to say to me. I saw her instantly from across the café. As I navigated around the crowded tables, I watched her seemingly scrying into her cup of coffee as she stirred in her sugar. She looked so small in the light. She looked up at me.
Long lines spread out around her eyes and down her clear, downy cheeks. The mid-morning sun made the lines harsh. Once she had seemed strong and sturdy as mountain. But now, her middle-age showed in the light. Those carved lines betrayed her and told of the millennia of sorrow. The arbitrary winds of change had whipped around her and eroded her into a smaller version of herself.
A waiter appeared, asked if the sun disturbed her. But he did not wait for an answer. He drew the cord and closed her off from the harshness of the light. In that instant, when the shade came down, Elise smiled up from her coffee cup. Her face transformed into a light of its own. Those lines disappeared. She animated the peace and good cheer of this single moment as her youth came back to her face. This was the face I had known. This was the woman that I sought to destroy. And here she was, still bold— still beautiful— still bigger than life— still immortal.
And in that moment, I felt seven years was not enough.