She sat hunched over her table, a pen in her left hand, a steaming takeaway cup near her right. My pencil lazily copied the lines of her face, her pointy-pixie nose sat dead centre. Her cheekbones were visible to all and her blonde hair was shaved, except for a short, spiked middle. I finished the basics of her face as she reached for her cup. She looked back at her paper suddenly and started writing, putting her cup down. Her eyes rushed over her page in time with her written words. I forgot about drawing her and just watched. The sleeves of her white shirt were rolled up under her elbows and a barricade of tattoos stormed out from under the material. A plain silver cross glinted off a chain around her neck. The table she had claimed was strewn with papers in seemingly no order, although she reached without looking and pulled a sheet out, which she started copying from.
I was distracted from her when the waitress brought my coffee over and looked at my drawing. I looked up at her as she sighed at the living version.
The waitress stared a while longer before facing me.
"Trouble, she is."
Confused, I asked why.
"We've had cops in here looking for her." She nodded her head in the girls' direction. "She's in here every morning, but they always just miss her. Got no idea what she's done."
"You let her come back? Without calling the police?"
"She never causes trouble here. Just orders a hot chocolate and sits at her table writing. She never stops writing."
"Any idea what she writes about?"
"Tried to look once, got a mouthful and an unpaid drink in return, never tried again."
I turned to look at the girl, but she had vanished.
I walked into the café the next day and saw the short blonde hair once again. After I ordered my coffee, I sat down at the same table and started working on some other details of her face. She was still as a statue. I glanced up and her eyes caught mine, they were bright blue and beautiful. She watched me watching her and the blood rushed to my cheeks as her face never changed from her direct stare. I adverted my eyes down to my page and realised I had drawn her all wrong. She was not shy, she was not cooped up in her own little world. She was strong, challenging, like she owned the world. She believed in herself. I recreated the lines, making her expression determined, de-hunching her shoulders, adding more spike to her hair. I looked up to add the final touches, but she and her papers were gone. The only thing left was her takeaway cup, still steaming. I sighed and labelled my drawing 'Stranger'. I started to put my drawing away when a small hand with long fingers reached over my shoulder and pointed to the title. I saw the familiar tattoos out of the corner of my eye and felt a breath down the side of my neck. She tapped the title and said one word, her voice flowing into my ear. She pulled away and I turned to watch her go. She left without a single glance back.
The next week I went back to the café every morning and waited to talk to her. She never came. She had left her mark on this insignificant part of the world and had moved on. I took out my drawing and stared at the unfinished lines, the untold secrets. I realised then that she wanted it unfinished, like her. I sat there, letting my coffee go cold, before finally rubbing out 'Stranger ' and replacing it with one word.