She wears her hair in the same way she did fifteen years ago, that much hasn’t changed. It’s lighter than before but Ed has the feeling she’s done that to cover the grey that has surely started to creep in. Her eyes look smaller, her lips thinner. As Ed stands with his hand on the pub door, ready to go in, he hesitates. How much of the girl he once knew is in the woman before him?
Did she still take bubble baths late at night with a glass of wine in hand? Did she still argue her points passionately with such utter conviction? Did she still listen so intently that you could believe you were the only other person in the world?
He catches sight of himself in the pub window. The beginning of a paunch, thinning hair, thick eyebrows burrowed in thought. He checks his watch, Shelley would be halfway through the torturous routine of bath and bed, secure in the knowledge that he was out with clients finalising a deal. He’d set the story up last week as his heart raced half thrilled, half disgusted.
A step further will take him over a threshold not yet crossed. The woman looks up from the table and sees him. She smiles shyly at him and he feels the years slip away. He sucks in his stomach, pulls back his shoulders and opens the door.