Every day at 3 AM I’d see her. She’d be in the second compartment of the subway sitting with her legs crossed with a book in her hand. Always with a book in her hand. She’d sit so perfectly and so still, you’d mistake her for a china doll. If she did not occasionally flip the pages of her book, I would actually think so. Even when she flipped the pages she’d do so with the utmost grace.
I still remember the very first day I saw her. You don’t really notice much when it’s 3 AM and you’re jealous of the rest of the world who gets to be asleep. I had been riding under the flickering lights of this pre-dawn subway for as long as I can remember and then one day she was just there. And then after that she was always there with her pastel outfits and round purple glasses flipping through the pages of Victorian novels. Her blue-black hair rushed out of her head and fell to her waist. It would move along with the train as the train swerved and braked.
I’d sit right opposite to her in the empty compartment and she never looked up. Not even once. Even on the days I spent the whole ride staring at her almost ethereal being; she never even blinked. I’d get off before her and she would always be there when I got on. It came to a point where it was impossible for me to imagine her in any existence other than the one where she’s sitting opposite to me, cross legged and holding a book.
You might wonder why I never tried conversing with her when I found her so fascinating. But fascination is not the right word. It was more like terror heavily veiled by beguile. Her china doll-like appearance was not an exaggeration. There was no sign of breathing in her and her smooth porcelain skin had no sign of anything running through it. I never had the courage to stare into her eyes and thankfully they never looked up at me. I would get onto this train and quietly sit opposite to her then spend my time stealing glimpses or sometimes unabashedly staring but always making sure to sit as still as her and never looking directly into her eyes.
Tasnim Odrika likes pineapple on pizza and is willing to fight anyone who opposes her on this. Reach her at email@example.com