Her lips were far too full for such a fragile bird-like girl. She had no right to have lips like that. It was, among other things, unfair.

There was an aesthetic there, in her dress, which was layers of diaphanous sepia silk and gauzy cotton. The way her hair was timeless, retro, modern, all at once. The softness around the edges of her pale and thin body. Like she was captured by an old camera.

If she were a picture I could keep her under my bed, in a secret box, to finger her edges when alone.

Instead I took her for drinks and nervously edged around her silence and her eyes. And longed for her lips. Her lips on a glass, her lips on a cigarette, her lips on a straw, her lips on everything but mine.

Her notebook was absurd in its delicacy. A fountain pen, mahogany ink, a script so fine it could be another language. Surely English was far too clumsy a choice for words so precise.

If her lips were unfair then her words were cruelly beautiful. Melancholy and full of longing. One of those stories that is at once sad and yet so lovely you can’t help but smile.

The hesitation bloomed into tension, then my chance (if I had one) was gone.

So it goes.