Some short years ago, a little, wrinkled lady used to wander into my work, a lonely cafe on the corner of the busiest street in town. Her cloudy eyes met my shoulder, and I could see the dust settled in her silver hair. The skin she wore was dried up like a desert prune, and a mist hung around her in curtains. I could see she had tasted the sweet and bitter of life, and the years had started to craze her brain. Her cheeks were hollow and her eyes round and full. The sun had kissed her face and left brown stains as a reminder - of the days when she used to run through the heavy summer’s glare and not have a care to her name. Her teeth were sunken into her jaw, rotting and stale with yesterday’s memory, of dreams unfulfilled and slowly forgotten. Bunched around her waist were thick ropes of desire, pungent and red. Flowing down over her legs and curling between her toes was a silky dress of soft pink, telling tales of innocence and lost beauty. Sitting atop her head was a tiara, one of those plastic ones bought from a two-dollar shop, plastic and spray painted silver. I could see she believed in the shiny jewels embedded in its crust. Hands clasped together, she sat on the seat by the window and stared, unseeing, into my soul. The pain and clouds that fogged up her mind’s eye caused my ribs to squeeze my heart into submission. And in my soul, I wept. Big salty tears rolled down my inner windows and pooled in the depths, collecting all the other unreleased liquid pain and turned into an icy lake, still and silent. I wished for this old lady, called her unspoken name silently in my head. I rehearsed walking up to her and curling my arms around her bony shoulders, holding her close to my heart. I wished for her to wake up and see that life was still all around her, that death hadn’t called for her. Yet she wandered around in a daze, as if she was already dead. A ghost, a memory, a shell of pitiful forgotten dreams. I turned to clean the already well clean table behind me, and felt her stale breath on my neck. I froze, and turned to see her slipping her hand into the fridge behind the counter, sharp bony fingers clutching at a bottle of juice. One by one, she pulled out bottles of juice and hid them in her sequinned bag. My tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth and my lips seemed glued together, only way to open them would be to prise them apart with my nails. The bottles rattled around loudly and only then did I wake up and let out a shout. The whole place jumped and I opened my eyes wide. She was gone, not a trace that she had even existed. Was I day dreaming? Could that even be called a dream- or was it some sort of fucked future vision of the woman I could one day be. Shaking my head, I took a deep breath to clear the fog from my vision. Only then did I catch the thick stench, the scent of her unwashed body hung heavy in the air.