To the girl in the crowd

You sit a few rows in front of me on the other side of the room. I’m not sure what draws me to you but at some point I become transfixed by your nape. I’m supposed to be paying attention to this writers’ talk but the pale skin of your neck and the dark hair flattened against it seems much more interesting. I start scribbling notes in between paying attention to snippets of talk about ‘how to be a writer’.

All I can see of you is from the shoulders up. You’re wearing a knitted cream sweater with a black under-shirt. Your hair is cropped close to your head. It comes to a clean point in the centre of your neck and sits there, shiny and smooth. My curly hair would never be so obedient. I want to reach forward and stroke that dark triangle, feel its softness, ruffle its smoothness. I want to dig my fingers into your hair and run my hands along your scalp, around your neck. The shortness of your hair somehow makes you look more exposed.

From where I sit, I can the slope of your chin and the lick of hair curled in front of your ear, as if you just flicked it there to get it out of your eyes. I can see you’ve got the tip of your pen in your mouth and I imagine the thoughtful look on your face, the concentration. Your head inclines with interest and every so often you lean down, I imagine to write notes about the talk, as I am about you.

When the seminar draws to a close, I gather my things and leave with my friend only to realise I never saw your face. 

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