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  • A red bun pops out
    like a rose in a desert
    twists wraps and blossoms

    -

    Seated in the back corner by the window, she is reading "Throne of Glass". She has her headphones on but there's no music playing, she tells me after. A disguise in orange red, pears sneak out of her purse and hide in her mouth. She diligently reattaches the ziplock bag once its tenants have left. Others will rent it again soon.

    In retrospect, I could have left it there. I had already taken a photo of her on the bus through stealthy means. But the caption would have been left incomplete.

    Saying hello to a stranger isn't all that easy. We are wrapped in coats, insecurities, fears, worries, and credit card balances so I can understand why we keep to ourselves out in public. Especially for women who are welcomed to harassment just by walking on the streets. But for some reason this time, I forced myself to give her a nudge. As she steps off the bus, I greet her and strike up a conversation. I find my vantage point by asking about her head scarf. From there, we take flight and land at the coffee shop where she's about to start her shift at 5 pm. We talk about the book she's just started because a friend gave it to her. A friend's recommendation sometimes outweighs all other credentials.

    Her name is Shennel and she's an accountant-in-training.

    Why accounting?

    "I love math."
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