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Emma was in town visiting her mother. Matt had never left. They met for coffee and pie at the diner across from their high school. They compared lives - jobs, spouses, kids. Matt had a little girl in preschool. Emma's was a few years older. It was small talk, shallow stuff, but Emma enjoyed the pie and she enjoyed Matt. It was her first solo trip in years. She felt like a teenager.

Afterwards, they walked up and down Main Street. The sidewalk was windy and dusky-orange. Their conversation began to move backwards in time. Whatever happened to…? Remember the time…? They cut through an alley on their way back to Emma's car. Matt's shoulder brushed hers. He grasped her suddenly, against a wall, with his face so close she could see the shiny pores on his forehead. She could have counted his individual eyelashes. Here was a forgotten feeling: the concave yearning in the pit of her guts, the shaky pulse of her breath and the red flush of heat on her skin. Pressed against her, Matt leaned in for the kiss, but Emma turned her face sideways. It was the feeling of fresh desire. It was marvellous, but not irresistible.

They stepped apart, both muttering apologies, and the wind blew violently between them. Emma clutched her coat shut. They hurried to her car. Driving away, she calmed her heartbeat with slow breaths and replayed the scene in her mind like an ex-smoker savouring the smell of a second-hand cigarette.

Story by:

Dina Lyuber

6 November 2013