She was sitting in one of her regular haunts waiting for a friend, a day like countless others.
The handsome young waiter approached the table and smiled.
She ordered coffee and he turned to leave, but paused.
“May I say,” he began looking back at her, a flicker of something in his eye she couldn’t quite discern, “how beautiful you always look.”
She searched his face for a hint of insincerity, but there was none, and blushing like the schoolgirl she once was, she thanked him.
Smiling politely he held her gaze for just a moment before walking away.
Had he been a gift from the Gods? It had been a rough week and her ego needed some attention.
Her mind flipped back the pages of a worn and well-read book, returning her to a time when she was paid handsomely to sit in front of cameras, while eager, bearded men would flash their light bulbs and tell her to lift her chin, turn slightly to the left, and exclaim proudly that she couldn’t take a bad picture.
Today she hides from cameras, avoids the family photographs, ducks and weaves when the covert cell phones appear, their recessed, tiny lens annoyingly at the ready. She doesn’t need to be reminded those days are behind her, those large checks for smiling prettily no longer lay in wait.
It was a bittersweet, odd, interesting interlude, and when he returned and placed the coffee in front of her, she stared into the chocolate brown beverage and saw her life reflected, a dark crystal ball in a china mug.
She realized she had made a grave error.
She had blinked.