I was being watched and was therefore self-conscious, eating my coffee cake. She was a presence, two seats over, occasionally peaking at me from over the last few pages of her book. I awkwardly tried to throw out ice-breakers – but my feeble efforts and her brief responses caused only a small amount of information to be traded. She told me her name, hesitated and explained that she’d just changed it the day before when she was making business cards for her belly-dancing work. The name was so new, she said, that she felt she had to qualify her answer. She had six pages to go before finishing and would leave when she was done. I stared out the window, looked at her, tried to read my book. She’d look up sometimes and make a little noise, like a sigh and a giggle at the same time. She stopped reading with two pages left and stared out the window for awhile. I tried to draw her out a couple of more times. And awhile later she said goodbye and I watched her walk away. She turned her head twice and waved before disappearing behind a building.
A happy moment of angst among these strange days.