“I can’t believe I ran into you! It’s been too long.”

Renee nodded while desperately searching her memory for this woman’s name. What she said was, “I’m surprised you recognized me. Between my haircut and the masks, I’ve gotten used to friends walking right by me.”

“It’s the eyes,” she said smiling. “They gave you away instantly.”

“I guess they call them the ‘window to the soul’ for a reason.”

Exactly!” the other woman said. “That’s all we’ve got to go on these days.”

Renee realized that she had never actually made an effort to look this woman in the eye. In fact, she’d gotten into the habit of avoiding eye contact with anyone she encountered on her rare excursions out of the house. It took a surprising exertion of will, but Renee forced herself to look into the other woman’s eyes. And she saw.

The strain of trying so hard to accept that this was what life was like now
so that when she told herself, ‘it’s gonna be okay,’
she might actually believe it.
Confidence that everything really would be okay.

“Emina,” Renee said, recalling the woman’s name. “It’s so good to see you.”

* * *

Story by Gregory M. Fox

Photo by Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash

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