The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Beauty (On the Record)

Two boys of perhaps ten or eleven are simultaneously struck by a vision. They turn into elderly men, gasping, bringing their upturned fingers together in front of their faces like something from The Godfather or a pasta sauce commercial. They are in childish awe over a source of beauty. The woman enters the open doors for the subway. I am standing and she chooses a seat that faces me. She is wearing a white dress, high heels, huge hoop earrings. Her brown hair is slicked into a bun and she wears a lot of black eyeliner around her big blue eyes. She glances at me for half a second, and she settles in behind her headphones. She is perhaps eighteen. She sits with her elbows in her lap. She wears the clothing of a grown woman and the posture of an elementary school girl who was always much taller than her contemporaries.

As the train departs, we pass the two boys. They are looking in the windows to watch her go by, to sigh in their admiration, to shove each other as she rolls off into the future. I grin. She sees me grin and looks away modestly, blushing, smoothing her hair. A bit later, she looks up to me again, in her uncertain way, and I smile at her to confirm that I also saw the sweet story unfold. I saw her being admired; I saw her being seen. She nods a bit and she returns, satisfied and smirking, to her poor posture and her daydreaming music.

–Vienna
Vienna

4 comments on “Beauty (On the Record)

  1. LarientDuyan
    September 3, 2016

    This got me smiling 🙂

  2. jotheplaywright
    September 5, 2016

    I love this – it has such a fleeting, european feel. Small glances and one can imagine how this small moment colours the three characters’ day ahead…

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 5, 2016

      🙂 I love getting to see these moments in part because that young woman might remember it forever. And she had a chance to share it with me in a glance–and my readers without her knowledge… 🙂
      Paige

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This entry was posted on August 10, 2016 by in Austria, Happiness, Travel.

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