Girl once

It looked exactly like her. The red colouring had faded leaving her hair a weak pink. It wasn’t quite long enough to be tied back, but she’d forced it into place. Most of it. A couple of groups of strands fell across her eyes and caused her to blink. Her hands were usually too full to push the hair back over her ear, and she occasionally blew upward to clear her eyes.

Her eyes were just like those of both her daughters. She’d had them young – the first when she was only seventeen – but when I’d known her, she’d never regretted them. The father had married her and both their parents supported them as he finished uni. He became a teacher. They moved into a rental place around the corner from her mum’s and she started a singing group for the kiddies in the local church hall.

But now, I suppose the kids would be in high school. Or upper primary, at the very least. And here she was, now in the inner suburbs. As I pay, I looked closer. She didn’t recognize me. And she was young. Too old to be a daughter, but much too young to be the girl I once knew.

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