The only thing I know about you is the name of your book.
The pages of The Hound of the Baskervilles by Conan Doyle are well worn, faded, dark annotations, and underlines turning it into a peek into your soul. I bet your fingerprints are all over it, I bet there’s a sigh for every sentence for the remaining ones. Your hands are soft, then. Gentle, to turn each page so reverently, to caress each word you know by heart. I wish you’d commit me to memory, too.
But as the train taps against the window of our train―so politely, asking, will you let me into your heart, please?― I remember that we are strangers, strangers, and you won’t remember me, not like I will (I am glancing at you over the pages of my book, hoping our gazes collide, hoping you don’t catch me, hoping you do). You don’t know everything about me―It’s stunningly freeing, isn’t it? Here we are, I don’t know you, you don’t know me, and baby I could be a tragedy, I could be a walking heartbreak, I could be a good memories too, and you wouldn’t know it. We are just faces, faces we sometimes see in our dream, faces we wonder where we saw before, nothing but the curve of our smile. What do you think about my smile? Have you caught it yet, this secret one just for you? I will become a confession you hold so close to your heart you only see me in strange, silent dreams.
But for now, I am content with stealing glances like you’ve stolen my breath. I am content with your eyes flickering across the page until they dart upwards, clashing right into mine. I am content, yes, content with you catching my smile, your gaze becoming dazed as you read the same paragraph three times. I am content, darling, with your tiny grin, your curved mouth a question mark that needs answering, a fresh book begging for annotations, strangers in the train, that’s what we are, strangers giving each other strange looks and hesitant smiles.
Strangers who know each other’s favorite books, and their secret smiles. Strangers that I hope in the next life we meet again on the train without being a stranger anymore.