It was her shoes that caught my attention. They were emerald green with maroon laces. It was odd, because she’s tied the laces from her left shoe to that of the right. Her legs were awkward and they were doing a little tap-tap beside the steel chairs, outside the library. I was sitting across from her, waiting for my friend to come get me. As my eyes wandered up, I took in the ripped beige stockings, denim shorts, oversized black sweater that was falling off her shoulder, wildly curly, brown hair, bunched up in a knot, loose tendrils framing her face. She was tan. Not muddy tan. That golden tan you cannot procure from lying around on beaches or from the best tanning salons in the world. You have to be blessed with it. She was holding a cigarette, between her fingers, flicking them every few seconds. Her carelessly-coloured ruby-red lips were being mauled by her teeth. A solitary drop of water rolled down toward them.
Which is when I looked in her eyes.
They were the saddest eyes I had seen. They were beautiful, green eyes, almost the colour of her shoes, only, more mellow; and full of melancholy. It was one of those things-you know you should stop; it’s very rude. But I just couldn’t stop staring. And then she looked into mine.
Illustration by Nika Akin