Miss Aida
I could not recognize her. Her face seemed vaguely familiar, like a person I once knew. Her features had both softened and grown harsher with age. No longer the more defined facial expressions, her face had filled out more. No longer the fresh glow of youth as I ran my fingers down her cheek; there seemed to be a tautness about her.

The eyes that looked back at me seemed different. At first glance, her eyes seemed larger than I last remembered. She used to wear glasses but there were no sign of her spectacles at the moment. How strange the way contacts changed a person's face. Her pupils dilated as I leant in. There was more. A hint of cynicism where there was once none. A tinge of sadness, and anxiety, and darkness lurking behind her eyes. No longer the eyes of an innocent.

There was a difference about her. True enough, the loss of innocence had changed her... but there was a different kind of maturity about her now. Maturity that could have only come with experience and life. It was a trade-off.

It was in the new, confident way she held herself. The way she seemed to be comfortable in her body. The way she moved. It seemed as if she had grown up, embraced being a woman... and entirely left behind the girl behind. A new confidence along with a certain cynicism towards life. I could sense the hardness within, and it saddened me.

I leant in, experimentally brushing my fingers across her bottom lip, angling my face closer. She smiled, her lips parting in a forced motion at first, and I was struck at how alien she seemed to me at that moment.

Then, the moment of awkwardness passed... She visibly relaxed. Her features softened as she smiled back at me, and her whole face seemed to change. The transformation was astounding. I could see the light dancing in her eyes, and how it seemed that she was telling me that not all things had changed, that some part of the innocent, carefree girl I once knew still existed, how things were going to be okay... and that moment, it seemed like she was smiling with her heart.

And at that moment, I smiled, and turned away from my reflection.

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