She was a vain girl, very passive aggressive and just a little ugly. Of course appearance depended on the eye of the beholder but often the beholder didn't care enough to look. Things were displeasing to her but it was unlikely that people would know that. Somewhere she had heard that people who were passive aggressive were worse than those that were just plain aggressive. Maybe it was another word that people to say or spell and the effort just put it up a notch on the ladder of aggressive distastefulness. She however, perhaps because she was vain, thought it should be quite low on the ladder, at least in her case. Aggressive people fought with their fists but she fought in the shadows. Even when shadows touch a person it doesn't do much harm.
Her vanity meanwhile was a different matter, but she thought of it sometimes as not her being vainer than others but her noticing it more than others. She attempted to be humble and kind and gracious and preferred to hide than show anything else. People don't always see what reality sees though.
On this day, this one day where she wasn't sure whether she would be passive, aggressive, vain or ugly she met a young man. It is a simple thing to meet a young man, several people do it several times a day but there was something different about this one.
When she first saw him she thought nothing of him, she barely even noted him. When however he bumped past she turned and he was spitting out an apology.
"Sorry," she replied. He was young enough that when he smiled a little part of her irked. For an ounce of a second she wondered whether her hair had gone too frizzy and how long it had combed the flyaways down.
"No worries, I should've been looking."
They were standing halfway in halfway out of a door, his foot keeping it open.
"So should've I." If she wasn't shy maybe she would just be an aggressive person, but her speech came out a little mumbled. Talking to strangers always made her mind stir a little.
Her anger came out most when strangers came up to talk to her. A man with a violin sat next to her on the train, a dozen empty seats when she was wanting to put her feet up after a rushing day. He talked about his music, about his father's fasting and how they were celebrating the break of it that night. Then he asked about her purpose in life. Fasting apparently brings light to people's eyes about their purpose. She regretted that she didn't have a better answer, but at the time she was contemplating if she could be bothered to get off at the next station and wait for the train after. She had done that before with a man who came up to her on the bus and told her she looked engaged with the book she was reading and it must be riveting. Her mind visioned hitting him over the head with the book and telling him that if she looked so riveted why did he ruin it.
"I won't lie," the man was saying. "I've already done it once today, my mind must be elsewhere." He laughs and she gives a little awkward giggle and immediately regrets it.
"Maybe this won't be my first either," she says.
He turns his head sideways slightly. "I hate to be the one to day this to you."
Her mind flicks to thoughts of what she could do if he's about to insult her.
"You have something in your teeth." He says softly, politely.
It only takes a moment to bring her hand up to her mouth.
"Oh gosh, that's so bad. Thanks for telling me," she adds knowing she could easily have gone all day without knowing. She barely ever looks at her teeth because she doesn't like to look at her hair. It's often too messy and it just stresses her when she sees it like that. It's easier to be unaware of the truth.
"Don't worry, I was at a meeting last week and only at the end I found I had some leftover lunch on my chin."
Her laugh this time is more genuine. "Sorry I should've laugh, but," she smiles, though her hand still covers her mouth. "It's something to laugh about after."
"If we ever meet again we'll be laughing about this."
Some ifs happen and some don't. He was a stranger, and if she was heavy sweater she would've created a pool around her feet. She wasn't though so it wasn't something that mattered.
"Excuse me." A woman pushed past them both.
He had been leaving the building but still holding open the door. She knew if she was to take her leave it would be now, excusing herself politely saying she had to be getting to work. Luckily it was an excuse that was easy to make unlike the ones that are made on buses when the next stop is twenty minutes away. Saying sorry I don't really want to talk to you wasn't an option and instead she spent conversations like that wondering if she could squidge them off the seat and onto the ground, breaking their mouth into silence.
"Perhaps we could laugh about this again," he said.
It was one of those moments that if she was cool and sly she would smile, shrug her shoulders and say that would be nice. Instead her nerves rise, she blinks and few times and wonders how to make her lips turn up.
"Yeah yeah, great." She flicks a piece of hair back and wonders if she can subtly pat down the rest.
"You work here?" He motioned into the office building that he was leaving and she was entering.
"Yeah yeah, I have to trek it to the twelfth floor."
"So that fire alarm last week, did you have to run down all the stairs."
She nods, remembering how it had almost made her consider thinking about looking up how much a gym would cost. Of course it never happened.
"The most exercise I had all year." Talking her lack of exercise probably wasn't something she should say to a young man she had only just met.
He laughs, something she notices is a strong laugh. He's a confident man, and she knows he's the type of person to face a person instead of hurting them from the shadows.
"I was going to get a gym membership but the walk to get to the gym was too far so I couldn't be bothered."
Now it's her time to laugh and as a person once again enters through the door he's still holding up she puts her hand back over her mouth.
"I'll give you my number aye, how about we grab a coffee later?"
She moves her hand away to smile, then remember that there's something piece of something likely sticking out like a raven amongst doves.
"Sure." She gives him her number, and smiles behind her hand.
"I'll see you later today then."
"I'll have this thing out of my teeth by then."
"We can laugh about it then."
A breath of wind comes in and she instinctively moves her hand to stop her hair from turning into an unruly cloud.
"I've got to be getting to work, I'll let you stop holding that door open."
Their conversation ends with a smile and a goodbye, a little awkward wave. He's gone then, the door closing and her turning to take the elevator up to the twelfth floor. She's not sure whether to be happy or regretful or whether she should've put more effort into her hair. It's hard for her to say no, and this could be the start of her wondering whether she should get off at the next stop or push him off the chair.
It's a chance really that she's taken, and it makes her worry. It's easier to hide than regret.
On this day, where she wasn't sure what would come out, she met a young man. She may sit in the shadows and plot how to bring the downfall of a person through hiding, but she tries to be humble and kind. Reality could tell her what she is truly like, but reality is a hard thing to knuckle down and question.
This young man could bring things out in her, but whether he does or not it's not important. Whether she's aggressive or passive or both doesn't matter either, nor that she's a little ugly to the eyes of some beholders. What matters if that for a moment all of it was hidden, as a young man accidentally knocked his shoulder against hers and told her there was something in her teeth. For a single, small moment in the world, she was a blank page to him and he was writing her figure into his story. She may not turn up for much longer, nor even again, but she's been written and the ink cannot come off the page. Passive aggressive, vain, ugly hasn't turned up on his page, and for now her character is perfect, if not for a small lack of teeth brushing skills. She's a figure, an image, a story that he's creating on his page, and on his page she could always be perfect.