She was sitting in a train car. And he desired her.

Not in the sense that he wanted to possess her. To have her body. To mark his territory.

He desired to know her. To know the book in her hands. To know what season’s sun left the freckles upon her cheeks like lipstick stains from the lips of a beautiful soul. To know what adventure tore the heavy fabric from the sleeve of her shirt and whether that adventure had been so exciting that she hadn’t even noticed that a bit of her skin was peeking out at the elbow.

To know what wisdom darkened those brown eyes. And what mischief brought a light there, like moonlight on the stillest of lakes. To know if she knew she was beautiful and wild and smelled like sweat and passion and cherry blossoms. To know if she would smile if he sat in front of her and replaced her book with his own hands and eager face. If she would smile back or snatch the book back to place a well-aimed blow to his head.

He wanted to know her soul. Her secrets and her adventures. Her passions and her fears. If she feared spiders or forgotten friends. Death or life without living. Or thunderstorms.

To probe into her pasts. What kind of child was she? Adventurous or shy. Wild or fearful. What moments and books shaped her into this slim, unique traveler with sunlight falling across her nose and this train hurtled her across the world.

To learn of the mundane things that filled her brief time on this planet. Where was she going? Did she take her coffee diluted with coffee and cream? Or black and bitter as the night sky? Or did she resist that addiction and steep her sorrows only on tea?

What did she eat when she was alone at night and sleep was far away? Who did she call when fear was rising like a tide? Who did she text when she got home safely at night? Who was at her side, binge watching her favorite movies and devouring bowls of popcorn when life was suffocatingly dull?

What job did she have, that made her dream of escape? What decorated the walls of her home? And who met her when she got there?

Did she travel often? Did she drink at parties? What song was she addicted to, dragged back into it’s enveloping high when the world’s silence bore down on her?

What thought tormented her? Who could she never forgive? What color was her warmest sweater, the one in which she curled up in to stare out at the rain? What chores created the callouses on her hands?

What hope shown in her eyes? What about her made her the only girl he stared at on a train?

Could she answer any of these things?

The train stopped. The doors slid open. She stood, slung her bag over her shoulder and climbed out. She never turned to look at him. He did not speak.

She stood on the platform for a moment. She turned back and raised her eyes. They met his own. She raised her hand and waved. Their eyes remained connected, as she faded into the distance.

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