Giving Exactly Zero

long and luxurious lashes. obviously fake.

She was pretty. Her hair framed her face and the horizon beyond in cascades of copper ringlets. They were very fine. Like a chain that would knot if you rubbed it between your fingers.

She wore a crown, of sorts, to keep her avalanche of hair from overtaking her face.It was likely a stretchy beaded band.  The ornament was a tanned leather, medium brown color. The beads were fashioned together in a star-linked pattern that daisy chained around her head.

She was sitting on a bench on the train platform, sheltered by a billboard. You only saw her when you were in almost directly in front of her, give or take thirty degrees.

She was looking down at the phone she held in her right hand. You could see the light reflected from the glue that attached her long thick very black lashes to whatever lash she was naturally given. There was some black eyeliner to try to cover the glue. It did only an okay job. She had a headphone in one ear, the other bud dangled from its wire, into her lap.

Two fingers of her left hand dangled a lit cigarette. The other three fingers gripped a small paper bag. She brought the bag to her face and you could make out her palm and fingers embracing a cylinder in the sack. It might have been a bottle, but more likely a can. She drew a jolt from the bag, and, while her hand was there, she twisted the burning tobacco to her lips. She drew again.

You couldn’t help but be impressed by her flagrant swilling and smoldering on the platform. This isn’t New York. Consumption is not allowed here.  But she clearly didn’t give rules a thought as she chattered cheerily on her phone call. You hoped she finished her smoke. And you tried to give as little care as she did.

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