Before She's Gone

I watched as the glass door swung shut. Outside, Rei walked away with renewed purpose. I didn’t care where she was going. Her destination didn’t matter at all. This was the whole of our relationship. Beyond the shifts she put in while I ate at Cafe L’Amour, neither of us existed.

The winter wind didn’t stop her, she was free for the moment and where her step had been leaden, her eyes tired, she was all but skipping now. Weariness that had weighed her down, was gone. Her hair spread out after being bound in a bun all day, rippling like a short brown cape behind her. She was beautiful.

This was it, this was the only time I would ever see her truly free. Fleeting moments like this one, snap shots of a kind of happiness I had never seen in her before, existed only when the flesh of the work mask loosened back into a real face. I could make the work mask smile, make it laugh, engage it, but I couldn’t transform it the way that exiting the cafe did.

“You got it bad, huh?” Peter asked, following my gaze.


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