The Writer

He sits beside me scribbling, looking up once in a while, afraid he’ll miss a moment. Or afraid he was being watched. Does he know I’m looking, concealing my glances at his paper behind large sunglasses? A literature student, I guess, judging by the shoes, and the textbook in his bag.

When the doors opened for him, he walked in, those shoes crushing the carpet pile. Crush crush. The press of rubber on fibre. Crush crush. Like hands that press on a body. Crush crush. Eyes devour words like they devour the legs of the lady across from us.

In the corner of my eye, I see the bobbing of his curls as a clutched pen captures her features, her movements, her skin, her gaze. She looks up from her phone, her fingers paused. She smiles, but his head is pressed to his work. The corner of his lip trapped between his teeth. I hear him breathless, writing. She turns back to her device, fingers dancing. He looks up again and wonders what those fingers feel like on glass. He wonders how they feel on skin.

The train stops. The lady stands and leaves. His fingers grip the corner of his notebook. White knuckle for a moment. Crush crush. His story will emerge tonight on reams and reams of pages. Crush crush. I wonder what his fingerprints feel like on paper. I wonder what his hands feel like on skin.

He writes about her. I write about him.

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