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Tina stopped chewing her breakfast bagel. Carrie’s face was backlit against sun bouncing off the commercial buildings of Dupont Street, but as Tina’s eyes adjusted she could see that she was just staring at her.
‘Carrie,’ Tina said.
The other woman didn’t reply, but looked around a little. Tina had the impression that, having sprung her surprise, she now didn’t know what to do. She was in running gear but didn’t look sweaty. Her hair was a little longer, the roots more visible than Tina could recall, her large blue eyes duller.
She sat down on the wall, about a foot away. Tina put her breakfast back in its bag and tucked it away to her right-hand side. When she looked back, Carrie was staring at her again.
‘How are you?’ Tina asked.
A thin smile flickered on Carrie’s lips then was gone. She looked away, across the road towards Creeds, the coffee place they’d always used, and that Tina had just come from. You might have known better than to stick to the same routine, Tina scolded herself.
‘Did your therapy go well?’
The question made the hairs on Tina’s neck stand up.
‘How did you know I was in therapy?’ she asked.
‘You know our industry.’
Her tone was blithe, and she’d gone from staring to not looking at Tina at all. Tina felt her own mood shifting from fear to irritation. Gossip was circulating about her and she had a meeting at nine and she didn’t have time for this fucking drama . . .
‘Don’t you think you owe me five minutes?’
Carrie turned to her now. Her eyes were glistening, the skin around them drier and more lined than the last time Tina saw her. And she knew that look, the spectral affect of someone who’s spent too long crying and not eating and not sleeping. Remorse gripped Tina in the gut. Her jaw slackened.
‘I’m sorry,’ she whispered, then cleared her throat, worried Carrie might not have heard. ‘I’m sorry,’ she repeated.
Carrie gave her a long, strangely distant look. Hatred? Disgust? And then she seemed to snap out of it and glanced at the time on her FitBit.
‘I have to go,’ she said. ‘Are you available for dinner?’