The lady had a name; an age. I didn’t know them. She was married, by the look of it, when she got on, to the man who helped her up and then to her seat. Suddenly: her perfume. Sometimes you get to know the most intimate details in the lives of strangers. It’s early morning now – before the bus ride – the hair disarranged from the night’s sleep, the makeup brush unstable on the rim of the sink, tiny bits of powder all over. Her eyes, hurt a bit by the light above the mirror, keep a fitful watch on the happenings outside. This face cream will smooth and hide the wrinkles, this spray will shape and volume the hair. Coffee’s ready. In the small apartment some clothes are hanging near the heat to dry. She opens the fridge, she opens a cupboard. A cookie, maybe two. Looks out, through the fogged-up windows, to the whole day ahead.

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