Sunday, May 27, 2012

Strangers



An intimidating, plump book lay helpless on her lap; its spine pinned down on her right thigh. Stubborn pages of its chapters read were parted from those yet unread and held back by her slender fingers.

He kept the seconds with each blink of her eyes and minutes with the rhythmic flip of pages.

She did not seem engrossed in what she was reading. There was a slight hint of distraction in the way she played with her hair but she took no notice of him or his intent gaze on her long eyelashes. She never looked up from the book; if she did steal a glance of him, he never caught her in the act. Their eyes never met.

Bathed in an cosmetic fluorescence, they sat facing each other against a window that framed the pitch black of night outside as the train snaked out of its burrow from underneath the towered city, bound for the obscurity of suburbia.

Each station presented the possibility of a parting of these two strangers. Yet they spent time in between each stop ignoring each other and pretending not to care. Perhaps they had mutual friends and stories to share, but neither would ever know. Eventually, one of them would pick up a bag or place a bookmark on an unfamiliar page and disappear into the night, destined never to be spoken to, seen or remembered by the other.

Yet, that time had not yet come, so they remained two strangers occupying a single moment in a confined space. Bound to the fringes of another’s awareness for a fraction of an hour, they shared one of many countless and unmemorable journeys in life's unremarkable course.

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