Her by Kaleigh McIntyre

A girl sitting on a bus bench drinking coffee. Is she going to get on. Where is she going. Where has she been. Does it even matter where she’s been if she knows where she’s going next. Does she come out every morning, like this one, and wait for her bus. Is she trying to get away from something. Or trying to get back to it. Where on earth is her coat.

Doesn’t she know it’s freezing this time of year. Does she know that she’s wearing some of her latte on her cashmere sweater. Does she know and just not care. Is she a wanderer. Does she like to stay close to home. Why do I want to speak to her so badly. Why am I drawn to her worn face. Why do I want to know the story behind the deep lines in her face, the ones that say she’s laughed a lot in her life, and the story about the circles under her eyes that say she hasn’t slept a lot lately. Does she have a husband at home who won’t tell her how beautiful she is. Or a stack of bills too high for her paycheck. Or maybe a high-pressure job nearby she’s late to. Does she come to this bench in the mornings to have a few moments of peace with her venti latte and her thoughts. To just forget whatever it is that she can’t tune out anywhere else. Or maybe to hear the sounds of a world outside of her, to remind her of how minuscule her problems are in the “big picture.” Or to watch others as they board their own buses. To speculate their stories, as I speculate hers. To feel connected for just a moment to some other, stronger woman.

All I know for certain is this: in this moment, none of those things matter as she realizes I’m staring, and we exchange smiles.

 

-Originally published in The Elixir’s 2016-17 print edition

-Photo credit to Damien Demolder

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