As From a Ghost

Once, I was browsing for music at the local mall when I noticed a familiar splash of color. It was a girl: thin and pretty and wearing a cheery, white-and-orange checked sundress. She was turned the other way, talking to her friend, her face obscured by straight, auburn hair spilling down to her waist.

I knew her, though. I knew the way one knows his kin and kindred in a pressing mob, more by hints of mannerism and movement than by any specific detail. When I said her name, she turned and spoke, a sweet tone, a kind word, a pleasing, sensuous smile.

The wrong smile, not your smile, and I scurried off as from a ghost.

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