There he was on the wall.
That face she once could not get enough of.
How good to have a reminder.
When she first saw him, he was doing a reading of his latest novel. She adored his work from the first word, bought the book, had him autograph it “To Esmé from Keeling,” because that was his last name. He laughed at that. She was in heaven.
She looked for his appearances elsewhere, listened rapt, went up to him always with the same praise: “I’m amazed. I don’t have words.”
And she didn’t. All she wanted to do was look on his beautiful face.
He got tired of it, it seemed, because it wasn’t long before he greeted her with a look of impatience.
It spoiled his face. It made her wonder whether her own face annoyed him the way it was now.
She had been a beauty once. People had said so, men had sought her favor, been anxious for a word, a glance.
Now, all the treatments, creams, lifts had taken their toll. Her bad luck that she’d chosen some Brazilian quack.
She banished herself from his sight. She got angry.
Then she happened to see a poster in a bookstore and her longing to see that beautiful face on her wall, to gaze upon it whenever she wished, returned in force.
Lately, her feelings have changed in step with the change in his features. He, too, is getting long in the tooth. She’s tempted to snort, it’s so literally true.
Poor boy, he’s disintegrating much faster than she. The decay is unmistakable, his features no longer beautiful. And, alas, he’s beginning to smell.
Death has not been kind to that face.
She wonders what she ever saw in him.