When You Were Young (Chapter 2, page 1 of 11)

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Chapter 2

Prudence touched her hair as she left the salon, a breeze nipping at the back of her neck. In eleven years she'd never worn her hair so short, shorter even than most of the boys back in Eternity. Irene-the little old hairdresser recommended by Mrs. Schulman-said it was a good look. "It complements your face," she said. "You have such pretty cheeks."

Those cheeks turned red at the mention. In the last three years they, like the rest of her, had gotten considerably smaller. From the measurements she kept in her shop, which she kept hidden from everyone-including Wendell-she had in fact cut her weight in half from three hundred six pounds to one hundred fifty-three at the last measurement. The amount of weight loss in each tally kept shrinking to the point now where it was nearing a plateau. She would always be "big-boned" as Mrs. Schulman said or "husky" as Suzie said.

So busy was she touching her hair that she walked into someone on the sidewalk. "Sorry," she said. "I wasn't paying attention." Only when she looked down did she realize she'd knocked Wendell to the ground.

"That's all right," he said, brushing himself off as he stood up. "I almost didn't recognize you."

"You like it? You don't think it's too short?"

"No, it looks great. I love it. I love you." He kissed her one of her pretty cheeks. She blushed again, feeling everyone on the sidewalk staring at them. Sometimes she wanted to tell Wendell to stop being so affectionate in public, especially in Eternity, but she didn't want to hurt his feelings. He was only trying to be nice.

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