From the Water’s Edge
by Mandie Hines
I don’t know the woman sitting across the coffee shop, but I know her sadness. I have never spoken to her, but we discuss her life over sips of latte and stolen glances over paper mugs.
Her smile wraps around me and I feel the warmth of a thousand summer days, but I’m haunted by the faintest downturn at the edges of her lips.
I imagine the brilliance of her ocean blue eyes in her youth. Even now, they sparkle, but I want to weep because beyond their brilliance there’s loss.
My heart feels weighted as she flips the page of the book in front of her, and I see her weathered hands dab at the corners of her eyes.
I turn the page of my notebook, pretending not to notice.
When I look up again, she’s staring at me. She winks, and I’m washed away in a tidal wave.
I wonder if she’s heard my whispered sorrow as we’ve carried on our silent conversation.
I feel my face redden at the realization of my exposure. I think she somehow knows how I cry in the shower unheard. Tears over lost loved ones and lost dreams, wash away down the drain where no one will find them.
She knows. She knows me and I don’t even know her name, but somehow she knows me better than anyone.
She mouths, “It’ll be okay.”
Somehow, I believe her. Because, even though the remnants of her grief tug at the corners of her eyes and her mouth, her eyes still sparkle, and I believe.
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Mandie Hines writes in the Rocky Mountain region. She’s driven to create pieces of fiction that capture moments of human vulnerability. She has many loves including family, reading, writing, hiking, and yoga. Frequently by her side is an animal which was advertised as a Great Dane, but may in fact be a horse or possibly a Velociraptor. Evidence is mounting in favor of the latter. Visit www.mandiehines.com for more.