Lives on Trains - 5

He waited for the train to arrive, trying to decide where to sit today.

He took a new seat every day, moving around within and through the carriages, always selecting one that had at least one other person sitting across or besides him.

He would then remove the book.

The trick was to get it out in a way that made it seem as if he was trying to be inconspicuous in an embarassed sort of way, but was failing to do so. The almost-but-not-quite-casual looking around, the fumbling and sliding out of the book from the bag, the attempt to open it to the correct page while trying to hide the cover - inevitably, someone would be piqued (and nosy) enough to try and see what the title was.

He watched their reflections to capture every detail of their reactions. The scorn, the amusement, the derision, the outrage, the rejecting disinterest, the spark of mutual interest, the mental bookmark on "To Read" lists, the surreptious hiding of their own material, the smug raising up of their book to make the title quite visible.

The judging of him.

Always hopelessly off the mark, of course. Although...there was that one time, when that middle-aged woman (a tabloid in her hands) had looked up at him with a slight smile and a nod, recognising another tease who got their thrills by laughing at the gullibility of people's assumptions.

As the train pulled in, he checked his bag, making sure the copy of Winne-the-Pooh was safe.


Lekhni said...

Good stuff. I am sure most of those who sneered at him were reading Winnie the Pooh at bedtime to theirs kids and secretly enjoying it.

Oh, and tagged.

Shyam said...

Very sneaky :)

??! said...

Thankee. And true!

And nooooo. One does not do tags!

Heh. What is life if not made for deviousness?

Lekhni said...

One does not? Oh, well. I'd have loved to know what u're reading :(

??! said...

Sowwwy. I really should put this on my profile, or put up a perma-link to this post, where I explained my position on tags.