The Appointment

I wrote this on a whim, for no reason. I was in a morbid mood, and sometimes it seeps through and I either have to write it down, or kick cute little puppies into flaming dumpsters for 500 points each. Wait, what did I just say? Ermm... never mind.

I never forget a face. Especially not one so striking as hers.

I recognize her at once, standing off to one side, isolated from the crowd. The falling snowflakes seem to be drawn to her long dark tresses, nestling in them an instant, before vanishing into oblivion. Her green eyes are fixed intently on something. After a moment I realize that she’s staring at me.

I approach, everything I ever knew about her flooding my very being. Mina. A precocious child. A rebellious adolescent. A determined young woman. Now twenty-five years old. A successful model at the height of her career. Beautiful. Talented.

Our eyes meet and I know that she understands everything.

“Hi.” Her perfect lips curve up into a tiny smile. “I’ve been waiting for you.”

My expression does not change at this news, but then it rarely does. “Have you now?”

“Oh yes.” She nods, still smiling. “You’re late for our appointment.”

“I am incapable of being late.” I explain patiently. “I have all the time in the world, you see.”

Mina laughs, and her laugh is like the tinkling of crystal champagne glasses. “I’m sure you do.” She gives me a sidelong glance, her green eyes flashing. “Walk with me, for a minute, will you?” Without waiting for my response, she takes a few steps away from the crowd, without looking back to see if I’ll follow. Mina has always been like that.

Without protest, I follow her towards the shelter of the snow frosted pine trees.

She sighs with relief. “I’m happy that you came, honestly. I was worried that you wouldn’t show up.”

I cannot possibly come up with a suitable reply to this, so I elect to remain silent, content to let her talk.

“I mean, I haven’t seen you in forever.” She continues. “Not since Joshua died.”

Her older brother. Twenty-two. Died of a heroin overdose when Mina was eighteen. “I remember.”

“I didn’t want to see you then. I was angry with you.” She admits.

I nod calmly. “I know.”

The wind whips her hair around her face. “Do you remember the first time we met?”

An oddly sentimental question given the nature of our relationship, but I had long since learned that women were naturally creatures of emotion. “Vaguely.” I murmur, hoping to discourage any continuance to this line of conversation

She shoots me a murderous glare. “Don’t be an ass. I know that you do.”

I sigh, wondering what possible good can come of this. “Of course. Your grandmother had just died. You were no older than six. You stared at me in an extremely rude fashion from across the room.”

Mina smiles. “Yes, I suppose I did. You were very handsome.” She looks at me. “You still are.”

My expression still does not change. “I am whatever you perceive me to be.”

She waves a dismissive hand. “And then, I saw you after my parents died. You acted like you didn’t even know me. That really hurt me.”

“You were so young. I did not want to encourage you.” I explained. In the distance there are sirens, but I give no indication of hearing them and neither does she.

Mina shoots me another glare, this one slightly wounded. “It didn’t work. I would’ve done anything to see you again.”

“I know.” I had underestimated her determination.

She gently pushes back the right sleeve of her parka and turns her wrist over. The old scars are still visible even in this fading sunlight. “They never did go away. Every time I had to do a shoot, the makeup artist had to cover them up. My agent was constantly giving me shit about it.” She laughs. “I was fifteen, I didn’t know any better. And then you came to see me in the hospital.” Her eyes narrowed slightly. “You were mocking me.”

“I never mock anyone.” I reply solemnly. “Do you remember what it was that I said to you then?”

“You said, that I should be patient. That you would come to me eventually.” Her tiny nose wrinkled. “And then you went to see Joshua instead.”

“I am here now.” I offer.

“Yes, you are.” She takes in a gulp of air and lets it out in a long shuddery breath. “And I’m scared now.” Tears form in her brilliant green eyes and begin to shine on the ends of her dark lashes.

This finally awakens something within me, and I want to hold her, but I cannot. “Mina, you have known me all your life. Do not be afraid.” I can hear the sirens again. They are much closer now. It is far too late to go back. She knows this.

“I love you, you know.” She whispers, tears trailing down her pale cheeks.

“I know.” Her sentiments towards me are rare, but not unheard of.

Mina manages to smile faintly. “But you don’t feel the same way about me, do you?”

“It is not in my nature to feel… anything. Least of all, love.”

She laughs. “You heartbreaker.”

In the next instant she’s in my arms, crushing herself against my chest, pressing her lips to mine. I’m taken completely aback in spite of myself, and it is a moment before I respond, enfolding her in my embrace and returning her kiss with a passion that is alien to me. She is warm in my arms, despite the bitter cold around us, and for one brilliant moment I dare to hope that maybe, just this once…

Then she rests her head on my shoulder with a sigh, and goes still against me. My fleeting hopes fade with her last breath, and I am myself again. Impassive. Cold. Eternal.

Gently, I pick her up and slowly carry her body back the way we came. The crowd has grown larger, all of them nameless and faceless to me at the moment. Right now I only have eyes for her. My Mina, who knew me for what I was from the first time she ever saw me. I step unseen into the midst of the circle formed by the onlookers and tenderly set her back down onto the bloodstained snow and ice in front of her twisted vehicle. Let the paramedics try to do what they can in vain. I have already saved her.

As the rescue workers lift Mina’s broken body onto the stretcher, one of them meets my gaze. He is startled to see me here, of all places. Yet he has seen me before, on his shift. I casually turn away, recalling idle knowledge as I walk. Kevin. Twenty-three. Paramedic. Student. Engaged.

Someday we will meet again, Kevin. Only next time, you will have an appointment.

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