succinct, pt. 1

She is, he reflects, careful in her appearance. It is not meant as an incisive comment. Her hair, her clothes, everything is intentional. He is whatever the opposite is of careful. Thrown together, perhaps. His jacket is oversized and slightly rumpled. His jeans are worn. His shoes are more than battered. His hair is always unkempt.

They do not look together, is the point. When she smokes she looks perfect, composed, European. When he smokes he looks downtrodden and destitute. Coffee in her hands is an elegant beverage. In his hands it just keeps him together.

They are sitting next to one another on the train now, and she is talking about something--he is honestly not sure what, and he has been trying to listen. There seems to be no point. He is staring at the advertisements, which are talking about some university he has only heard of in advertisements on the train.

"You're quiet today," she says. He nods but says nothing. She says, "Is something wrong?"

"I'm tired," he says. He feels that something more is expected of him. He says, "It's been a long week."

She says, "Tell me about it," and she tells him about it. He tries to keep up but now he is thinking of the long week which was so unremarkable: about taking extra shifts to cover for his coworkers, about long conversations on the phone with his careful girl, and a hurried dinner that was meant to be relaxing but left him feeling breathless.

Mostly, though, he remembers how little of it he remembered. Not that his memory was going, but that there was simply nothing to remember.

The train stops at Harvard Square, and they get off together, but not looking together. He holds her hand because he is tired of feeling like they are not in the same room, but by then they're outside.

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