I see thousands of new faces when I travel, but in the blend of humanity passing by, one person might spark a curious notion. What is their story? As a fiction writer, I’m not bound to reality, so join me while I fill in the blanks for women I’ve encountered.
Finsbury Square sits in London’s business district surrounded by new office towers of fanciful geometrics. When the City of London built the glass egg on the Thames for their municipal offices, it sparked a competition for interesting shaped buildings. Busy during the day, the streets among these modern structures are void of people after hours, with the exception of traditional pubs that mark every corner seemingly plucked from another point in time and inserted. Young professionals flow onto the street, drinks in hand.
For some, there is loneliness among the crowds.
The rooftop bar overlooking the square was busy with young London singles dressed to mingle. The men wear an array of white open shirts and black pants; women, in tight skirts and heels, a form defining change of clothes from their office wear.
She sat alone in the restaurant, finished with her business meetings, waiting one more night before checking out of the hotel and heading home. To replace a companion no longer in her life, to forget the empty seat across from her, she had her cell phone. Text messages with her girlfriend filled time with silent dialogue. She placed the device before her as a modern mirror and took a selfie to show her friend. She dwelled for a moment over her image remaining in the steam of typed words.
Her blond hair was cut short and stylish. She remembered when it flowed long, more sensual than sensible, like the girls on the terrace. They, twenty years her junior, would swoosh their locks to punctuate a laugh given to a handsome man as a reward for something clever he said.
When did that change and why? What did the years do? The man in her life was gone. It was a brief number of years, or so it now seemed, but she must have transformed during that time from a girl on the terrace to the sensible businesswoman she was now. She used to compete for men’s attention like the girls on the terrace. . Does she still compete or does she choose her own fashion and style?
It is for her she concludes, and that is fine.