I feel again and I know something’s different, but I don’t know what, not until she touches me around the nose and then I realise: I’ve changed.
My nose is slimmer, less flat, there’s less of me. But I think, you know what, I like this. It’s better than it was before, after that sudden violent crash. You should’ve seen it. It was all over the place.
But this, no, this is nice. I’m straight again. No weird folds and crevices and nooks and crannies, none of my nose intruding on my cheek and upper lip.
But then I don’t feel again for a while, and this time when she touches me I can feel a push, a stroke against a slight numbness, but something’s missing, something that’s been there for years. My lines. The lines across my forehead from years of raised eyebrows and looks of shock, surprise, confusion, worry, disgust
And then the crow’s feet. They’re gone too. On both sides. All that squinting, the sun low in the sky, dust swirling up, sand from that beach holiday to Bermuda and that midday walk around the Pyramids, eyes squinting under her hat as she rushed to the next shaded spot.
Next, the dimples around my lips, those smiles – gone. The way her father tickled her as a child, my mouth opening with joy, a joke told in a restaurant, relief at getting that job, and to think you’d thought you’d blown the interview, why did you say that, why.
Then the lids. I feel and they’re no longer rippled, saggy. They no longer show the days we passed together, the hours before the mirror applying mascara and eyeliner, the intimate feel, just after I closed them, of her husband’s wet lips kissing them delicately.
I don’t feel again and my lips are bigger, bulging, full, plump, like when she first kissed Jimmy Driscoll, but the other kisses – gone. Like the one with her husband after she pulled up her wedding veil. Or the wet farty ones her son gave her to make her laugh.
And then I feel again and nothing’s changed. My lips are plump, my nose straight and thin, my crow’s feet and forehead wrinkles gone, my eyelids taut. I’m the same and I can still remember, still feel on my cheek the rice her mother threw at her on her wedding day because she was too cheap to buy confetti, and the tears, all of them, every last one, the day her husband touched my cheek that last time and left.
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