In the head of a stranger

Assignment 2: Describe in 2 paragraphs a stranger. This stranger can be observed anywhere: bus, grocery store, gym, street corner, etc. Must be someone with whom you’ve had no prior contact. Write in the 3rd person. Physical appearance, actions and what they are thinking.


She looked up from her laptop as a young girl sat down next to her in the metro. She could feel the girl glance at her screen, and she felt the familiar flush of shame – here she was again, scrambling to get ready for a big presentation at work, not ready, already embarrassed at having failed to deliver the kind of work she could be proud of. Who does work in a subway?! That’s the grownup equivalent of a high school student cramming on the bus, only more embarrassing, because adults in her industry aren’t supposed to ride in public transportation. They are supposed to have sufficient control over their finances to afford a car. The frequent pressure in her chest got stronger. She forced herself to take a few calming breaths. No point berating herself, that wouldn’t help her be any more ready for her presentation.

As she bent her head closer to her laptop screen, her reflection in the metro window caught her eye. She looked so… drab. Her clothes were appropriate for a career woman in finance, but their shabbiness was starting to show. They hung on her, because of all of the weight she’d lost since the divorce. She hadn’t realized how noticeable the frown and worry lines had become around her mouth. She really had to remember to take 3 minutes to put on concealer, to try hide those dark circles under her eyes; because of her prominent cheekbones, she looked like a plump cadaver. She felt like a plump cadaver, exhausted from trying to keep her life from completely spiraling out of control. Hopefully she’d have a few minutes at work to put on a bit of makeup, to feel a bit more human, and less invisible – men at the office placed so much emphasis on their female colleagues’ appearances, rather than on the content in their heads. Typical. At least her hair was still fantastic, thank goodness. Life had been terrible for the past 4 months, but at least, at least, she could count on always having beautiful, thick, smooth, luscious hair, even when she rolled out of bed. She half expected to wake up bald one day, the way her luck had been running.

Shaking herself out of her daydream, she got back to work.

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