"Do you daydream?", she asked.
Her voice didn't sound like the other women: tired, apathetic, smug, disappointed.
Her eyes didn't provoke war.
Her tone was high, girlish even.
In her fingers, instead of the typical match with the ash-colored tip, held perfectly erect.
Instead of that all-too-familiar sliver of wood, she held a deceased dandelion.
Pinched between her thumb and forefinger, death of a different kind: mysterious and somehow
Full of promise.
The sunlight fell around her pretty but aging features in a way that
Warmed her thinning hair golden, created a sort-of optical illusion, until
You swore there was an actual halo atop her head!
Small, but glowingly real, you swore to yourself you'd seen it.
You'd sworn too many times in your short life.
"Go ahead, tell me."
You didn't want to.
You'd thought about this moment a thousand times. When this saintly lady would hear your crimes.
"I'm listening", she said. She slightly loosened her grip on the dandelion.
You closed your eyes, and forgot to pray. You garnered strength from your own merit, which was nearly enough to
Empower a horsefly.
You opened your eyes, childishly hoping your wish came true.
But she was still sitting there.
Attempting to swallow that immovable lump of guilt,
You remembered everything being a woman had taught you.
You used their passively abusive words
About competition and insecurity
To create a faux backbone for these next few seconds.
"Men are financial providers, women are emotional providers."
But you didn't believe that in this moment.
"God will provide!"
But that, too, was lost in the fear that shook your hands as you tried to hide them under the table.
You opened your mouth. To speak. To confess. To allow
But the gust of wind was too great.
It blew the decayed seeds from the dandelion, blew the dead flower itself out of her grasp.
"Oh, no!!", she exclaimed as the dandelion flew off with the wind.
And with it, so much of her life.
"Wait, I'll get it!", you yelled, but even as you ran, you knew it was no use.
Returning to the table you'd always shared with the angelic woman, you sat silent,
No apology seemed big enough.
"I'm...I'm so sorry", you murmured.
It is a lame, overused phrase. But it was all you'd got.
Her eyes were so different, though.
She didn't recognize you anymore.