subways and strangers

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: July 31, 2017

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Submitted: July 31, 2017




The subway began to move with a jerk.

People were jostled around and a few bumped into each other, and those who didn’t still felt helpless and unable to control the authoritative will of the vehicle for a fleeting moment.

The girl who had just entered was no exception. She, upon grabbing hold of the loop attached to the ceiling, had stumbled and lost her footing, and would have fallen if not for the worn leather handle that so many before her had touched. The jolt, however, left her unfazed. She had ridden this train a thousand times, and knew the spots where it bumped the passengers around like the back of her hand. But she didn’t really know the back of her hand all that well, in truth. It was probably safe to assert that she knew the subway ride better than she knew the tiny lines and creases of her palm. Who had the time, really, to stare at their hand all day? She had subways to catch.

The girl pulled her brown purse from where it hung behind her to the front of her right leg. She unzipped the leather bag and removed a pair of headphones. She plugged them in and allowed herself to be removed from her surroundings. If she had been paying more attention to her surroundings, though, she might have noticed the careful eyes glued to her movements, eyes studying her mannerisms and quirks from across the car of the train.

These eyes were watching, of course, and studying, naturally, but they weren’t grounds for alarm. Even if the girl had noticed she was being watched, she wouldn’t have taken any steps to stop it. She was used to being watched. She lived her life surrounded by unfeeling, unknowing strangers, and she was comfortable this way. She found safety in the knowledge that nothing was secret, because in a way this ensured that everything was.

If you had seen the girl, you might have stared too. She had the kind of demeanor that attracts attention without you even realizing it, her eyes full of passion but clouded by hesitation. She had hair that just covered her collarbone, and framed her face like it was a romantic oil painting from the 19th century. She wore jewelry that tried to distract from her face but never succeeded. She had eyebrows that were always slightly crunched together, as though she was perpetually lost in thought.

And her eyes - if you had seen her eyes, you might understand. They were a magnificent green, like a radioactive isotope pictured as a glowing green rock in a science fiction movie, captured and placed in her own head like beacons notifying lost adventurers of refuge.

The subway came to a halt, and the girl got off. She left no reminder of her presence, no souvenir, no glass slipper. If you weren’t paying enough attention, you would never have known she was there.


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