Beatrice

Lunch time - I peek my head into Mr. Brown's office to let him know I'll be back in an hour. He keeps telling me it's unnecessary but I do it every lunch break anyway. It's just polite.

He has his father's fiery red hair and seems to have inherited his passion for bringing criminals to justice - I've never seen him in court though, never cared to be around the people who are tried there every day. Don't care to know their stories and I certainly don't need to hear the details of whatever crime they're accused of. Dreadful, really.

Not that I know Mr. Brown's story. Since he took over the firm after his father's passing three years ago we've hardly spoken a word to each other that didn't involve meetings, files or photocopying. Is he married, divorced like his father?

Would it be strange to ask after this much time has passed? Oh what do I have to worry about; he'd probably just dismiss me as a silly old woman.

That's unfair. He was kind enough to keep me on even though these fingers have slowed and these eyes have dimmed. Perhaps I remind him of his father. I still wear the perfume his father favored.

I take the elevator down to the lobby and remember the unexpected flower in the young lady's hair this morning. She must be looking to catch a gentleman's attention today, though you'd think her smile would be enough to do the job on its own. Such a fetching little thing.

I make my way to my bench by the river, a walk that used to be very short. The man selling ice cream is at his stand as always. Is that a wedding band on his finger? Well good for him, the man deserves some happiness. The missing pinky and the scar tissue on those hands tell stories of less fortunate days for him; I wonder how he came through it to end up in this cheerier place.

I love hands. Each person's are unique, they have a history. Mine speak of a childhood spent working the fields and loom, of an adulthood whiled away in dark offices.

Ah, my 12:30 has arrived, right on time.

He comes jogging down the riverside path in a tight white t-shirt and red shorts. He has the blackest skin I've ever seen, finely chiseled muscles working away beneath it. His pink palms and fingernails are such a contrast, the way they flash up and down - it's mesmerizing. Such strength in those hands, such easy grace.

Not a single bead of sweat mars that beautifully clean-shaven head. His breath is easy and regular. That is one well put together young man.

I watch as he jogs past without slowing. In my prime I would have stopped him in his tracks with the bat of an eye. Ah well, I can still watch. And why not? I'm not dead yet.

The End

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