W- The face of the popular girl from high school, thirty years on. The eyes still have the girlish twinkle. There are some lines around them, but not many. Even in her late forties, she still has kept some of that spark about her. She wears skirts short enough to draw the eye and introduce a vague question involving dress codes and seemliness, one that fades. She tends to say 'blahblahblah' to quickly gloss over something that doesn't need to be pounded out in detail.
Her whole aspect is a double entendre, and begs another question of how to interpret her. Is she the attractive older woman who has held her power to turn people's heads? Or is she rather the desperate fortysomething who has, frighteningly, never changed? [Would I be considered an anti-feminist boor in some circles for the manner in which I pose these questions?—A separate question entirely, you will agree.]
[bracketed digressive interspersals doing anything for you?]
I saw a shock of gray emerging at her hairline yesterday and was struck by how well the dye had done its duty: I never once considered how old she must be. It was all I could do not to stare at it after that. Does she know that I have guessed at her secret? [A hint here at the secrets we all keep in plain sight and we think people don't notice. They must have, though, no?]
These questions I'm inclined to pose about her make her one of the only people in the department who is truly interesting on her own merits. What happened to her? How did some part of her become arrested in a stage of growth, before it was fully mature [I am presuming, but what is life without presumption?]? I can only hope that it is not one of the darker mysteries that is hinted at by the evidence. Assumption: she married young to a high-school sweetheart, felt trapped, but stayed in it, and acts out in barely perceptible ways to assert her lost freedom. And who says you can't judge your elders and postulate their life stories based on appearances and surface perceptions?