I barely recognized her today as we walked towards each other on the street. Her face, which used to be pleasantly plump and pink, was now thin and a little sunken. But when I'd stopped her I still followed form and said, "Long time no see! You're so thin!" and meant it as a compliment.
She seemed please, did a little half-curtsy in her long down coat, and responded with, "Yes, but not thin enough. I have to keep working hard. What are you doing over here?"
You haven't heard that the bakery is over here? I asked, and she had, sort of. "So how are you?" I asked, genuinely excited to see her.
"I'm still searching for a partner," she said, and shook her head to show how hard the search was.
"Take your time," I said, and she laughed a short laugh. "It's important to find a good person; you don't want to find the wrong one," I insisted.
"The main thing is my mother is giving me lots of pressure," she admitted. "I really wouldn't care, but she is in a hurry, and pushing. So I came out here to go shopping and forget it all." She signaled the end of the conversation and moved a bit in the direction she had been headed.
"Well, good to see you," I said, and that was that. I walked on feeling sad for her, and the other women like her stuck suffocating in this town with it's (mostly) crappy men and rigid expectations.