The first time I saw Amelia Rose, it was in the cafeteria. I had looked up to give George a sarcastic stare and she was there just behind her. She wore a black top, loose grey jogging bottoms and her hair tied up in a knot on the top of her head.
She didn’t wear any makeup and she carried very little on her tray. She glanced around the room and then made her way to an empty table. She put her tray down carefully and dumped her grey duffle bag on the seat next to her and pulled out a battered book and opened it. She read with one hand and ate an apple with another. I watched for a few minutes, marvelling at how she could turn the page with one hand.
George waved her hand in front of my face. She had been speaking to me and I had been ignoring her. Not ignoring. I didn’t know she was speaking. I turned my face away from Amelia and forced myself to regain the conversation with George.
The second time I saw her, I didn’t see her. She bumped into me and we both dropped our books. I scrambled to the floor to pick them up, I handed her a book that wasn’t mine and she thanked me. She was wearing the same jogging bottoms but this time a loose fitted t-shirt with the words “Made in 1993”.
“I’m Jack,” I said. “Holden.”
“Amelia Rose,” she replied. Her voice did not match her face. It was quite deep and husky like she was a smoker, I knew from later she had never smoked a cigarette in her life, she valued her body and throat. Her face was sweet, like a Sindy doll, with large eyes and small rosebud lips, but with less of a forehead. I thought she was beautiful.
I offered to walk her to her class and she accepted. Her class was in the Art Department, Dance Studio. Her clothes made sense she was a dancer.
On the third day I learned she wore tights under her jogging bottoms and a leotard under her t-shirt. I would later learn she fell asleep on her right side and slept on her left side, she wore her makeup only when she was on stage or on a date. She had eighteen freckles spattered on her nose and cheeks, thirty on her shoulders and back. She was ticklish on her left foot and both of her sides. Her toes all but crippled from the amount of time she spent on them.
The fourth time I saw her she needed help with finding a book in the library, I offered to help her. We ended up talking about books for three hours, and I walked her to class again and plucked up the courage to ask her out. She smiled shyly and agreed. I had a free period so she asked if I wanted to stay. I watched her dance. It was like she was on a cloud, her feet barely touched the ground. She moved with air and grace.
The fifth day was the first time I saw her with make-up, I told her she looked beautiful. I thought she had looked beautiful the first time I saw her, but my pride wouldn’t allow me to say that yet. She was wearing a floaty yellow dress that contrasted well with her chestnut hair. She smiled and took my arm. We walked to the restaurant and spoke well into the night.
Those first five days were the beginning of our relationship, her father would later comment that we were like a fine wine, getting better with age. Amelia Rose was a kind person, who wasn’t popular but wasn’t unpopular. She was a recluse, but pleasantly so. She spoke to those who spoke to her and a very chosen few were classed as her friends. She was beautiful without make-up, inside and out, her children were just as beautiful. I was thankful for those five days with her.