Creative WritingCuriousWritten

Chloé Laight Creative Writer: The Girl with the Cigarette in Her Hand

“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”


The far too regular formality of catching the train was in motion. The same journey had took up four years of my life and the commute and the people involved in it all were repulsive to me: the same dead-eyed faces staring into dead-faced spaces, each dying of a mutual hatred and an uninspiring tiredness. Repulsive, that is, save for The Girl. For the past three months and for three quarters of an hour each day, The Girl would get on and sit, never in the same space but always nearest a window, consistently silent and somewhat vacant. With no words and no cares, she would stare out at the transient country sides and the occasional flat blocks with the whimsical examination that only a child could harness. Yet, however sedate she could seem, she was always attentive enough to dart her eyes accusingly around the carriage at the slightest of coughs, or bubble of laughter, to then linger upon the defendant as if they alone held the power to pull her daydreams out from under her feet.

Every day as we would arrive at her station; a few moments would elapse where she could finish her cigarette on the platform edge. In those precious minutes I could stare unabashed, myself hidden by her own reflection on the glass the other side, before she danced through her cloud of smoke and clambered on. The sight of a cigarette was almost constant in her right hand or, if not, there was a quiet suggestion playing on her upturned lips that she had not long since got rid of one. In the beautiful gap between the last breaths of her self-created fog and joining me on the carriage, it was hard for anybody not to look at her. Other people did not hesitate to make this act obvious. It wasn’t as if she was really truly charming or even fine looking of any sort (at least not in the way most people saw it as her nose was just a bit too straight, mouth ever so slightly crooked on the left side and altogether quite a cold-feeling creature to ever be considered thus), but she emitted a pure magnetism. The kind of magnetism that is impossible to possess for most mere mortals such as you or I. Her grey eyes mirrored the stream of her projecting, tobacco-tinted breath and her hair fell about her long face in such a perfect but unkempt way. She was uncommonly tall, far succeeding most of her gender in great crowds, and she moved her long limbs with a feline elegance that cannot be taught by the greatest of teachers. She moved always with the half-clumsy poeticness of a person who thought nobody was watching. She barley spoke to strangers or friends, by what I had observed at least, which made you feel extraordinary if you had the blessing of hearing her emit a small tickle of a cough. This made the lowly stranger, the dutiful observer, the languishing I, think that she could be anything or anyone. She herself was unaware to this power.

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