the wrinkles around her eyespublished: 2010-11-15
The wrinkles around her eyes. I noticed those most. They told me a story of change. Of softening even though her features were still as strong as they had been back then. Her hair was only slightly less shiny. And she still looked amazing in a buttoned up man’s shirt. In fact, she looked cool. Mainly because she was. She drummed underground music, danced it, lived it.
She had propped her hair high up on her head in a messy knot. That of her daughter’s hair too, the petite three-year-old that held on to her for dear life while we chatted. Her daughter hadn’t been feeling well, she said. I noticed puke stains on her collar.
I searched for a way in. I asked after her father who had recently died, her mother?
“My mother has always been self-obsessed, everything has to be about her,” she said. When she said this, her cheekbones tightened in a frown. But only briefly. She looked like her mother and somewhere in the passing of years this had been revealed to her.
I wanted to ask if she still had those scars. I wanted to ask why she had been my friend. I wanted to ask why she always came to my grandmother’s home with me. Why she had taken the effort of driving through London traffic with a sick toddler to see me? Did she remember, as I did, how we used to kiss? How I always got to be boy and she girl? Had we been playing?
I walked her to her car. The exact same car I have, but in a slightly lighter blue.
“Does yours need jump-starting every so often too?” I asked.
“No,” she said, smiling warmly.