Her head turned and she gazed over her shoulder, across the red silk of her blouse, rippled by the tilt of her head, the pivot of her neck. Her jade eyes, clear and moist, seemed to find mine and I felt a stirring of hope, a long absent curiosity. I wondered about speaking to her, just a word to break the translucent expectations that divided us, that had always divided us and made us strangers. My mind raced to summon the right words. My legs flexed to stand, to walk.

She turned, her hair sliding back into place along her back, bouncing, as if swaying to the final measure of some distant rhythm, and she was gone – again.