Prompt Short Story: Anniversary

You can’t always see the big ones coming. The days where everything changes, for better or for worse. Sometimes you get a hint, a clue, an idea, even just a hunch. Other times? Zip.

She was just one of many, in the beginning. We get taught distancing techniques, mental exercises to keep us from getting invested, from caring about our subjects. Our instructor used to tell me I was good at them – “Jessica, you’re a natural, just keep up those guards!” – and I’d smile and nod and know I would be great.

And for the first few years, I was. But while I was on alert for the obvious signs we’d been taught to expect, the others snuck up on me. It was just a job. Three years watching her, and all the others, through that machine. And without me realising it, maybe a little part of me fell in love with her, because I wished she knew who I was. Until she did.

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