art by Cheryl L Owen-Wilson
Have You Seen My Girl?
by Brent C. Smith
Have you seen her?
She's tall and slender and tilts her head to the side when she studies you. Her face is a mosaic of mismatched pieces: eyes too large, mouth too small. Her spiky copper hair brightens to red at the tips. Completely natural, or at least I've never seen it change. She's not pretty, but she has one of those faces that you notice. The kind you sneak another peek at when you think she's not looking. She fascinates.
The first time I met her, I was stopped at a light, drumming the wheel, in a hurry to get elsewhere. She stood, hunched in a downpour on the curb looking lost and bewildered. I rolled down the window and asked if she needed a lift. She shrugged and folded herself into the passenger seat. I asked where she needed to go and she shrugged again. "I'm just visiting here," she said.
Something about her intrigued me, even then, so I said, "You can stay at my place." She smiled as if the gesture was new to her.
I loaned her a t-shirt and pants that were only a little too long to replace her wet clothes. She emerged from the bathroom, exotic wrapped in plain. The t-shirt she wore inside out, and somehow that appealed to me. I said nothing.
I invited her to stay as long as she liked. She shrugged. "I'm only visiting," she said. But she stayed, and the rhythm of her presence settled in my space.