"I feel like I'm here every day," says a girl at the next table at the coffeeshop. I look over, I can't help it, and her friend looks back. I don't know what they think. I am also here every day. The friend wears a gray and white striped t-shirt dress, almost too short to cover her underwear, and sunglasses to cover her eyes. The one who spoke doesn't look at me. She has brown hair and is dressed in black, with a tan and hunter green leather purse slung over her shoulder.
Her purse is something my grandmother would have given me when I was 13, along with musty, sun-faded horse books from the 70s, printed in Brittan. The books were filled with pictures of hard-jawed girls with thick, square haircuts, their flaxen bangs almost hiding eyes that peered out at me with glittering severity, gripping the reins of their polished bay and chestnut horses, their manes trimmed and perfectly braided, stitched into tight bundles marching in neat rows down their graceful necks.
I stared unhappily at these girls, and they stared unhappily back, as if they knew that twenty years after their pictures were taken, we would share that moment together, and see our discontent mirrored in the others' face.
It was always late afternoon in the photographs, even if it was probably morning or mid-day in actuality. But something in the muted golds and greens and harsh, sickly sky blues with which the books were always printed led to the impression that the girls and their horses existed in a perennial 4pm, the time of day that I invariably lost all hope for any meaning in life.