The stranger across from you is small but does not appear as young as her stature would suggest. She holds a serious expression that matches the paperback in her sweater clad arms. But she smiles shyly when she catches your eye. The smile conveys that she’s not quite so stern as her mien and paperback Dostoevsky (or O’Connor, Austen, Tolstoy or whoever she happens to have with her that day) would allow you to believe. You can’t help but wonder if the stern countenance is perhaps some sort of defense. She seems aware of this herself and the roses that bloom on her cheeks confirm her embarrassment of being caught in so concentrated a stare. So she smiles and hopes you’ll remember that instead.