The Painted Brunette

The Painted Brunette is reading a book with a large photo of a beautiful blonde on the cover. I find the contrast interesting. Brunette rakes her eyes over the pages, reading with great intensity. I watch her read for a minute before throwing myself back into my own reading material. My book does not have a beautiful blonde on the cover. Or a brunette. Or a woman. My book has a drunken crazy man on the cover and some kind of food stain on the page I am reading. No matter. Back to brunette. I take my eyes off my book of poems and watch her for a few moments. She sits demurely in her denim vest and sandblasted jeans, feet slightly askew. She finishes a page and suddenly slams her book to her lap, looks up to me. Right in the eyes. Busted. I fumble back to my book of inebriational melodrama. She’s staring. I can feel it. She’s giving me a taste of my own medicine. I find this hella uncomfortable. I’m used to being the watcher. The silent observer. The guy taking notes at the hanging. That’s why I sit at the back of the bus. So I can see everyone. But brunette really gets me. I pretend to read. I look up a few moments later. Still staring. I go back to fake reading. Still staring. I close my book and fumble with it, put it in my pack. I look up. Still. After a few long moments, she finally relents, maybe sensing my discomfort and taking pity on me. I smile at the whole thing. God dammit. Busted and taught a lesson in one fell swoop. I rest my chin upon my fist. Look out the window. The clouds are colorful this morning.