There was sadness around her. It wasn’t anything you could see, and she did smile a lot, as if she was aware of it and tried to defy that force that enveloped her; invisible honey-like coating made all her moves slow and all her thoughts dull. She always walked slowly; her gaze always on the ground. Her coat was red, but the colour was bleached and dull; even the pattern on the fabric seemed out of place. Even if she noticed, she didn’t care.

She walked down my street every day. I never knew why or where she was going. Every day, at the same time, she would approach me, smile and buy the newspapers. Somehow, I would feel her presence moments before she would say anything. I’d look up and there she was, in that red coat. Her dark hair was cut short, and I have never seen it any other way. Her green eyes would stand out from her pale face and look straight through me, and I was never really sure if she noticed me, even as she was paying for the newspapers.

I’ve never seen her talk to anyone, and she certainly never spoke to me.
For some reason, she was the highlight of my day. I’d be waiting for her arrival and enjoyed every second of it. For 59 days I watched her coming into my father’s small store, grab her newspapers after carefully looking at the front page for a minute or so, and then handing them over to me, opening her purse and giving me the coins. She’d always smile at that point, as if it was the smile she was paying with, not the coins. And, as far as I was concerned, that’s exactly how it was.

On that last day, everything was exactly the same, but this time I said something to her. I don’t remember what it was, probably something stupid and insignificant, but she looked at me for the first time. I felt her eyes focusing on my face and I blushed as her smile broadened. She kept her gaze for a few seconds, but said nothing. She paid for her newspapers and left.

That was the last time I have seen her.

I still work in my dad’s shop, hoping she might return one day. I tried to leave, but I couldn’t. Every day spent somewhere else felt like hell; like I was breaking some kind of silent agreement, a contract between two souls.. She did something to me and now I’m nothing but an empty shell; a void in me can only be filled with the sight of her red coat and her green eyes I know I will never see again.

 

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