• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 10

Earl Grey with two sugars (circa 2005)

All it used to take to imagine the woman you'd become was a coffee shop window to let your eyes wander out of, and a hot mug to hold in your long-sleeved hands.

You'd colour your hair at home. You'd wear stripes, pointed boots, things you never knew would agree with you. You'd hop on a train to somewhere four, five hours away, to meet someone you'd felt ready for before you even had a chance to learn what ready truly meant. They would meet you on the platform, take your suitcase from your hands, walk you to a home you'd only ever seen in pictures. You'd marvel at how easily your jagged edges fit together, and live in awe of each other, never quite believing your luck.

How old would that woman have been? Twenty-two, twenty-four. You're farther from that now than you were then. Your hair is still the same colour, a washed-out blond that doesn't shock like purple or green, that you kept to remind yourself how you've accepted not all things must change. In the morning, the face you stare at in the mirror looks nothing like the age progressions in your head, and yet there's no one you'd rather see.

You still look out of windows, but very quickly, scanning for plant pots knocked over by the wind, or signs that the grass needs cutting. You have your tea and coffee at home, where you can make them just the way you want. You still don't know why it takes so long for the steam from your cup to settle. You'd been taught to be impatient, thirsty, eager to drink, but when you look back at your best days, you see that for you it was always all about the wait.