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She thought she might have been less shocked. The face had the same exuberance, the same laughter. The lines wanted to say charming. If the face had been less than identical she might have understood.

But it wasn’t that one. It was the other one in the back. The face looked angry, even when it was smiling, disappointed even when it was supposed to be happy. The face looked disgusted at the life it had lived so far, a life resentful of other faces, faces that were pleased and honest. It did show intelligence, but not the intelligence of a childhood friend who used it to make others laugh. The intelligence here was confused, looking for a way to unhinge other faces.

And the face was not love. She stared at the face as it said its lines. She examined it as it spoke to her without ever returning the gaze. Was it shy under scrutiny? Disgusted? She watched it as it conversed with the man she had thought she had known. The face refused to care. It refrained from letting the blood flush its surface or a wink escape from its eye. It refrained from letting its lips curve up at the ends, or its nose reveal a sympathetic twitch. It was a professional face, after all, with the mastery of forty odd years. A face trained in artifice. Yet, it could not conceal its disappointment.

She was moved by that face into her own disappointment. The face, was, at least, that talented. How much easier would it have been to relinquish him to exuberant features. To a love-crazed expression. Instead, she gave him up to this harsh sinecure.


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