“How does one calculate the loneliness of a life? For me, it is by the length of a hallway,” the old woman stopped, but did not invite comment.
“Strange, also, how I can measure my age in small increments. One day I wake up with no appetite. Young, I wake up ravenous. Hunger–for all things–ebbs. And by this I measure my age. When I wake up with no hunger for anything, I am finished with this.
“I always expected to become beautiful. Pretty girls had reached their beauty early, I thought, and one day I would wake up into mine. But I never woke up beautiful. Growth brought different shapes, different styles, slackening muscles and weakening skin, but never beauty. I spent my youth patient in wait for something that would never come. Like most people do! We collect possibilities when we are children, and we have faith that one day, at least one of them will be ours, and we believe until it is too late to do anything other than choose a new belief from whatever is left.”
” . . . stop,” murmured the girl.