###

I stared in the mirror. I think the first feeling that came over me was sadness. I was sad that either I died and went to heaven or went completely bonkers. Neither was good. If I was dead my family would miss me and I hadn't had the chance to say goodbye. If I was crazy my family would have even more trouble with me.

Shaking my head I turned my back to the mirror and rubbed my eyes. Taking a big breath I looked again… and this time my jaw hit the floor.

What I was staring at wasn't the old body of a seventy-five year old I was used to, with flesh hanging loosely everywhere and wrinkles lining the face like rows of obedient soldiers. No white hair, thinned through by the passage of time, no liver spots riddling the limp skin, no sickish yellow color to it.

Instead I was met by the completely shocked face of a twenty-five year old. It was nicely filed, with alabaster white skin and no wrinkles anywhere in sight. The nose was straight, the cheeks slightly rounded, the ears sticking out just enough to make them cute, the eyes blue as the ocean and rimmed with a fine, thick layer of long, dark lashes. The whole thing was dusted with light freckles as though God took a can of spraying paint and gave a quick blast.

At the top rested a mane worthy of a lion. Long, thick hair fell in red cascades down past the shoulders, ending almost by the waist. They curved and bounced and shimmered in the morning light that streamed through the bathroom window. The eyes darted down and a smile curved those full lips. My lips I understood with a start. That didn't stop me from fully admiring the changes to the rest of my body.

It was rounded like only the painters could round them. The waist thin, the hips wide, the legs long and curves everywhere you looked. My stomach was flat with the barest hint of muscles rippling under the smooth, soft layer of perfectly white skin. The arms were long and strong ending with perfect hands, gentle and inviting. I looked at my chest and almost gave a whoop.

Where only last evening there were too loose bags of redundant baggage now there was a miracle only the all merciful God could've given. They were firm as a baby's bottom, standing at full attention, delightfully rounded and perfectly symmetrical. And not too shabby in size neither. A fair D I decided quickly.

I scanned myself again and again, unable to get my fill of the beauty I saw. Still not sure it was me I grabbed my face in my palms, marveling at their smoothness, and pulled it sideways and then up and down and twisted it till it was an angry red and stinging mightily. Yup that's my face alright, I decided rubbing my cheeks. But what in the world had happened?

I threaded my fingers through the red mane of my hair and let a small smile tug at my lips. I suddenly dropped into a crouch, rolled over and stood up quickly, grinning like an idiot. I haven't felt this weightless in years! To hell with what happened, the time is now and I need to make the most out of it!

I rummaged through my closets and wrinkled my nose in distaste. I couldn't shame this marvel of a body with rags like these. After a quick think I opened the doors to my room a fraction and listened. To my satisfaction all was quiet. At 10.30 the house was empty. Still, I glanced around as I exited my room. I quickly moved to my daughter's room trebling with delight at the power and grace of my movements.

The next move was tricky. Just last night I was an old lady who didn't give a damn about the latest fashion. Today was different. And while finding underwear and a bra took a matter of moments, the lacy patterns quickly catching my eye, the clothes were a completely different matter. I had no idea what was fashionable nowadays and stood a good fifteen minutes staring at the variety of clothes my daughter managed to store up over the years. I finally settled on a pair of close fitting jeans, a t-shirt that firmly hugged my body and a warm sweater that amplified my curvaceous body. I swiftly moved downstairs and after a bit of snooping around decided on a pair of fairly used trainers. I pulled them on and exited the house, my smile wide enough to give me a pair of irresistible dimples.

I roamed around the city, hungry for the power my new body gave me. After a while my stomach reminded me it was running on fumes so I stopped at a mall, thanking my lucky stars I remembered to bring a wallet with me. I didn't fail to notice the stares the male population of the grocery shop gave me and boy, did they send shivers up my spine! I was never this popular with boys. But then again I never had a body and face of a goddess. The poor boy behind the register was only around sixteen and his eyes helplessly wondered to my chest over and over again. When he finally managed to check out all my products I gave him a warm smile and a flirtatious wink and walked out, fully aware of the hungry stares that accompanied me to the doors and beyond.

I headed for the park, sitting down on my favorite bench and tucking into my breakfast. It tasted marvelous and my appetite seemed endless. Finally after wolfing down everything I bought I sat back with a content sigh. I tilted my head back and looked at the colorful leaves that still clung to the trees. Through them a fair chunk of the blue sky could be caught with white clouds moving lazily. I smiled and closed my eyes wishing quietly for this moment to last forever. Alas, it didn't.

"Pardon me, but is this seat taken?" A deep voice asked from above me.

I was about to tell its owner to piss of but stopped mid sentence, the words firmly stuck in my throat.

He was tall, taller than me, lean but muscled. He was dressed in jeans, a black tee and a leather fighter pilot jacket. His face was strong, his jaw firm, his nose straight. He had a head of messy, thick, raven black hair that had my fingers itching to run them through it. His eyes were his most amazing feature. Pale and clear, twinkling with intelligence and humor, staring down at me sharply.

I gulped and shifted without a word. The stranger sat down, equally quiet and took to watching the children playing in the fallen leaves. I tried to occupy my eyes with the sights but they stubbornly kept coming back to him. I felt the warmth of his body next to mine and it sent shivers down my spine. He crossed his arms over his chest and it emphasized their firmness. My mind showed me suggestions of what those arms might be good at and even through my sure demeanor I blushed to the roots of my hair.

"If you're going to keep undressing me with your eyes I wouldn't mind getting your name." His deep voice startled me out of my world of not-all-that-appropriate-thoughts and I looked back at his face which was now turned towards me.

"Well?" He asked raising an eyebrow.

"I… I…" I stammered without comprehension, my head swimming. I finally looked down and blushed even harder. "I am so sorry."

He waved me off.

"Oh, don't worry about that. I don't mind when a beautiful woman tears my clothes off with her eyes." He laughed and I decided that I really liked that laugh. "But I'd like to know her name."

"Katharine, Katharine Allaway."

"Well Katharine Allaway, I'm Thomas Lester and now that we know each other I was hoping you'd give me the privilege of escorting you to a dinner. Your choice of restaurant. What do you say?"

I was speechless for a moment.

"Sure." I breathed.

###

By 10 pm I decided I've really died and gone to heaven. I was having the time of my life with a guy I met only ten hours ago. And he was everything. Charming, a gentleman, funny, witty and hot to boot. Time flew past and before I knew it I was on the dance floor and in his arms, swirled through a Viennese waltz, my partner strong and sure yet very gentle in his leading. I had a red rose entwined in my hair, a rose he gave me. As the dance slowed, the hands roamed and the lips found sweet spots. Gentle gasps were given and soft sighs received. As our lips met the world faded into oblivion.

###

When I woke up the next morning I went in for a lazy stretch and stopped as pain shot through my body and bones snapped sickeningly. I threw my legs over the side of my bead and looked at my thin, shins and disfigured feet, their skin old and dry, a queasy feeling rising in the pit of my stomach. As I stood, I moaned in pain and felt the familiar pull on my body. I didn't have to go to the mirror to know I was an old woman again, twisted with age. I let out a moan disappointment. Something caught my eye and I turned to the night table. And there lay a single red rose shining in the morning light.

###

I died exactly a year later. The ceremony was beautiful, with an open casket. Beside it stood two photos. One of an elderly lady and the other of a couple. She was gorges, with long fiery red hair and he was like a god, tall and slim with a mop of wild, black hair and piercing blue eyes.

They lowered my coffin into its final resting place, atop of a hill, overlooking the sea and just under a hundred year old oak that reached into the clear, blue sky above. As the mourners moved away the tombstone was revealed. It read 'Katharine Lester, born 1920, died 1996. Beloved mother, daughter and wife. May her memory live on forever.' And beside it stood another grave stone, the only one around. The engraving read 'Thomas Lester, born 1919, died 1994. Beloved father, son and husband. May he Rest in Peace.' And atop both lay a single, fresh rose, red as the setting sun.