I started out writing this as a poem, but quickly discovered that it needed to take a different form:
I remember the smart young woman in the first car of the subway. She usually had a little too much blush, and wore what we referred to as an eggshell skirt* (because of its shape).
She was always alone. I assumed she might be shy—but then it was early in the morning, well before rush hour, when the trains were not at all crowded.
(This was why I went to work so early myself—I did not want to be one of those people that the attendants would have to push into the crowded train before the doors could close. She, on the other hand, was probably what the Japanese refer to as an OL—‘office lady’—so she was most likely responsible for preparing morning tea and coffee for her co-workers.)
She looked very fragile, with extra thin arms and legs, and her face not quite full. I actually worried about her a little, though I could never bring myself to speak to her (I actually was shy).
In hindsight, I suspect my unspoken worries were more a projection of my own state of mind. She probably went on to have a happy life—husband, family, an apartment in the suburbs. If I had been in her field of view, maybe she should have been worried about me…
(17 May 2015)
*—Thanks to the internet, I now know that it’s actually called a pencil skirt.