You could see it in the way she smoked. Flicking the cigarette after every toke, careful not to allow the embers to go anywhere but where she willed. Yes. Nadia was particular. There was little tolerance for the unnecessary and only marginally more for what was. She had a way of introducing herself by doing the opposite of just that. At 28 she felt 60, and feeling 60 meant carrying herself with the wisdom, no matter how misguided, of someone with few years to live and even fewer to waste on trivial pursuits. For her this amounted to a schedule of coffee and whitewashed walls, of high-rise buildings and low brow relationships, if any, at that. Meeting her seldom piqued interest; her only idiosyncrasy worthy of note, when she’d use her index finger to pick at a sore cuticle on her coral tinted thumb.

Indeed, at face value she was blanched. She had a pinched nose, unfocussed stare, and measured movements. It would take a well travelled eye, one perhaps wet by the unchartered waters of suffrage itself, to know; to be so pallid speaks of failed convalescence. For when you live for nothing, severing commitment with the surety of a skilled surgeon, it’s not because you have nothing to lose.

Rather, your mind’s replete with scar tissue of versed sentiment.

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