Her heart hurts. The lady with the crooked toes and sagged skin beneath her eyes. Her hands shake and her cracked and peeled fingernails look like red kidney beans sizzling in a pot. She wears three rings on every other finger, and she dazzles in cubic zirconias and rusted, gold plated jewelry. The lines where her eyebrows used to be are now drawn with an eye pencil, and each day, her nervous hands quiver desperately to perfect a shape that supposedly resembles a brow. Her hair is thin and straw like the bristles of a broom.
She sits with her head down, chest heaving and a sob is stuck in her throat. "Last night, I dreamt I was eighteen and I was in love," she mumbles slowly under a voice that scrapes like ice when its being grated for a snow cone on a hot summer's day. She says that that is all she dreams about now. In each dream she is vibrant, wholesome, ready for life and mostly, she is in love. She tells me that in her dream, her lover proposes and she regretfully refuses his offer. She laughs at her own dream. I try to search for the comedy in the situation but I do not find it. Then again, there is so many things that she knows and I have yet to learn about.
She raises her head to look at me, and then she shuts her eyes as if she is starting to dream again. I lean closer, stretching my neck to better examine the woman. I squint my eyes and strain, puzzled at her behavior. She unfolds her hands and brings them to her face. She says something, but it fades within the cracks of her hands. I wish to comfort her but am afraid to touch her. Her fragile frame, she might break and split at my attempt. When she finally lowers her hands, her eyes are wide and there is a smile breaking through. Her lips stretch and when a grin finds its way, her whole face lifts and brightens as much as her jewelry. In that shadowy instant, I know exactly what she looks like when she dreams, when she was eighteen and in love . .