Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Something? Nothing? Now amended

Didn't get this right first time. Changes in red.

Yesterday, on the 9.10 am from Newport to London Paddington a woman had plugged in her laptop and was word-processing furiously. Fiftyish, streaky brass-brown hair tied back carelessly, sharp nose, haggard facial tones, dubious complexion. Garish slit-like glasses (imagine an Alice band that had slipped forward). Gold rings on third finger of both hands. The rest I never noticed or I’ve forgotten.

What caught my eye was her intensity. Her technique was speedy and her lips moved as she spelled out words on the keyboard. Occasionally she referred to a thick, official-looking typed document and then resumed. Too many people merely languish while travelling on trains. She wasn’t languishing and I admired that.

Every time I looked up from my Kindle she was still at it, her lips continuing to shape the words precisely, a gift to even the most modest of lip readers. Though I suspect what she was writing wasn’t as interesting as her sense of application.

As we neared Paddington I was distracted and when I next looked the laptop had been stowed away, glasses off, her hair had been de-secured so that it now bracketed her face, she may even have done a light pass of lipstick. Fine-drawn (one of my mother’s adjectival phrases) and relaxed, she was truly beautiful. Adult beautiful. We went our ways.

PS 1: When typing she was in profile; afterwards, full face. This may explain the transformation.

PS 2: Why was her purposeful state so much more memorable than the revelation she was beautiful?

PS 3: How did I manage to forget those glasses?


The Crow said...

Could be both, BB.

A renewed interest in writing (requiring observation of the world around you) probably sustained your writer's interest in her as a character, but it was the Adam within that was affected by her beauty. Nothing wrong with any of that, to my way of thinking.

Thank you for this vignette, for creating a character so real in these few well-chosen, highly effective words, that I will carry her around with me for awhile today.

You are so good at what you do, you know.

Hattie said...

Yes, intensity is attractive. So I guess the novelist will now speculate on what she might have been writing and build a story around that.
Cool, very cool.

Barrett Bonden said...

The Crow: Sorry to mess you around. I appreciate the compliment but my last para, though true, wasn't important. Amendment sharpens up the oddity.

Hattie: As I said, I suspect what she was writing (given the official looking document she kept on referring to) wasn't interesting. But she took it seriously and I took her seriousness seriously.

Avus said...

Enjoyed your "fine-drawn" word portrait of the "Girl on a train",

The Crow said...

RE: PS2 - beauty only shows the face, the physical form. Her actions reveal something of the woman within, which would have been more memorable to me.

Editing the last para (post-publishing) doesn't change the effect of your writing...or the skillfulness you employed.

earlybird said...

I enjoyed this portrait too. Sharp, energetic.