Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
by Paula K. Speck
I heard that a college roommate played a cameo in a feature film. Having missed it in the theaters, I waited impatiently for it to come out on video. But I had to run the movie twice to recognize him. Where is his hair? When did he get that stoop?
Ahead in a line at the bank. The back of that woman's head pulls out of memory a friend's once-familiar face. She turns, and it's a different person, a stranger. This stranger's face coexists for a moment with the face of my friend, the face I remember, like one slide clicking down over another. Without meaning to, my eyes have lingered on her face too long, my mouth has been open to speak, and my hand has moved fractionally upward to wave before dropping to my side again. She turns her back, annoyed. I hitch up my purse straps and turn toward the exit.
I wonder if I lived so long that the faces of all my friends have been handed down to strangers.
Paula K. Speck is a lawyer and former Spanish teacher who has lived in Mexico, Argentina, Texas, and now, Silver Spring, MD. Her essays have been published in many journals and two have been "notable essays of the year" in Best American Essays 2003 and 2004.
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