In spite of the fact today is no kind of anniversary, I decide we should eat out tonight. I am sat alone at the kitchen table, my back to the window, a mug of coffee cooling against my palms. The heating is off, has been off all day, and behind me the thick autumn cold presses its face against the double-glazing. I feel its breath on the back of my neck.
I change into my dark blue dress. Its long sleeves hide my cannula scars; its gypsy skirt covers the worst of my sagging figure. I spike and volumise my ‘mature woman pixie cut’ into a pale imitation of my stylist’s efforts, apply foundation, eyeliner, a thin coating of cherry lipstick. The face in the mirror is both familiar and wrong. These days I see my mother staring back at me more than I see myself.
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Dan Powell is an award-winning author of short fiction. His debut collection of short fiction, LOOKING OUT OF BROKEN WINDOWS (Salt, 2014) was shortlisted for the Scott Prize and longlisted for both the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and the Edge Hill Prize. He is currently a First Story writer-in-residence.