I remembered her because of her hair. It was almost purple, a deep wine color, the result of years of boxed dye that promised auburn red.
That day she wore a sharp, black suit neatly tailored for her trim figure, which stood out amongst the hooded sweatshirts and stiff, white Reeboks. She moved like syrup and barely ate.
When she was seated in my section again, not more than two weeks later, her suit was a deep navy, her hair still a shock of ruby strands, frayed at their ends. When I approached I immediately recognized her. She dripped over the booth, the tabletop, the menu. Her eyes were locked on her companion.
"Nice seeing you again." I said it without thinking.
Her body, every inch of it, become rigid. Her breathing halted for an obvious second. Her gaze fell from his face to the fork near her hand.
Then she caught herself and looked up at me. Her glare seared, but she worked laquered lips into a smile that contradicted angry eyes. She barely, almost imperecptibly, shook her head no.
"What wines do you have by the glass?," she asked. Her voice was a honey-coated thorn. "I'm looking for red."
[photo byjenny downing]