Who remembered where they heard it? They all just knew, and always knew. No one remembered.

Barbara did. Barbara who was small, shy, quiet, unless.

They were at her kitchen table, these friends who knew her forty years. More. They were at the table with husbands and children, laughing at a joke which was old and still funny, and Barbara was howling and feeling like home. And the person who told her was here, sitting with her.

Sitting across the table, where she should be. Beloved, but also. There with that hair, those lashes, those lips, source of so much love and pain. Lips which were always busy, loud, and a certain shade of coral: pastel, shimmering, false. Lips which told Barbara a story, then said they forgot.