This Time Last Year

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I saw her walk by through the window of my shop again, the third time within the hour. She looked very nervous as she wrung the edge of her long scarf around her index finger. She would look across the road, try to stretch her neck over the bend and sigh, obviously not seeing whoever it was she was expecting.

I was just the shop guy. It was not my business. She was not a regular customer of the shop. The few times she came, she was with her younger sister who always had to have a sweet before they left. Sweet little thing. I heard she died some months ago from what no one knew.

She had stopped pacing. She was looking at him, a young man with a guitar slung across his left shoulder, waving at her with his right hand. Smiling. I could imagine she was smiling too as she crossed the road to meet him.

Did the smile remain on her face after her head hit the tarred road? Did the drunk driver of the black jeep see that smile before he hit her? What of the young man across the road? Did he cherish that last smile?

This time last year, I saw futility. She was the only one left. Her parents died from an unmentionable disease. Her sister, cause of death unknown. And she?

A smile splattered on the tarred road.

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