by Cat Hughes
Oh, she wishes it had happened today. She doesn't even remember what he looked like: the average office suit she recalls, but her imagination has added a messy haircut and an unshaven face – some small protest to set him apart from his co-workers. It started with that awkward back-and-forth shuffle of two strangers trying to pass each other on the street; then he grabbed her right hand and put his arm around her waist, swirling her in a mini waltz in the middle of the lunchtime shoppers and angry passersby. He set her down on the pavement and smiled, walking away, stretching his hand behind him as he went. She would understand that moment if it happened now – two people sharing a delicate second in a day that hadn't gone to plan for either of them. But no, when it happened she was sixteen, so she just frowned, trudged away and hoped no one had noticed.
Cat Hughes sneezes when she eats mints – no one has been able to explain this phenomenon.