He saw her from a distance at first. What caught his eye was as obvious as the nose upon his face. It was her smile, her big all encompassing smile that took in the whole world and made it immediately feel better.
‘That’s a gift,’ his friend said.
‘What?’ he asked, playing dumb as though lightning hadn’t just hit him right in the middle of his heart.
‘That smile,’ his friend said with a sumptuous drawl on the words.
‘I guess,’ he muttered, his mind doing overtime as his eyes tried to pull themselves away from a face that had him stuck on go.
The night had evolved, drink flowing and conversation with it. She came over and they talked as the old friends that they were and yet something had shifted. The plates of their years of small talk were melting into a future that neither could stop and as much as they might try they may as well try and stop the ocean.
Later, much later, they had said their goodnights. She had come over, giddy with the attention of the night. He had tried all night not to watch her, tried in vain to fill his night with the semblance of a world that had not just turned itself on its axis. It was the little things in her that had fascinated him. Her delicate wrists tanned with a kiss of colour. Her tall cheeks that lifted so invitingly as that smile lit up her face. Her thin legs stretching up from high sensual heels. Her tight white top that he dared not rest upon for fear of the delusion that he could ever know more than he now wrestled with.
‘Thankyou for coming,’ she said as the night drew to a close and the door that opened began to shut and yet there, as she turned away to get his jacket from a chair behind them, he saw a change of look. The die was cast. There was no way back. The only way for them, from this time on, would be forward.