She looks out the window and is thoughtful to the extent that the formalities of the situation are lost to her, the disapproval and perhaps even the politeness expected of her are left unattended to and instead, she sits as calmly as though she were completely alone.

In this situation it is usual for someone to float through on the wave of polite conversation, to pass biscuits, nod, smile with a well-practised look balanced across their face, but today, it is all she can manage to sit in one place, quietly, letting the breeze at the window pick at the hem of her dress.

She sits while they talk, like someone waiting in a separate room, a waiting room perhaps, without the props that normally absolve inattention. She clasps her hands together like a librarian. She has left them lying across her lap like gloves. She does not smoke, eat, sip tea, talk on her phone, read a book – her posture is poised, as though she might rise off her chair at any moment and leave the room via the window.

Indeed, it has been noted that there is something unearthly in this situation, in this grey moment where a girl has sunk herself in some mood or trance she can’t emerge from, where she is locked in place like a store dummy or a model posing for a painting.

The problem is no one has been alerted, and she has lost sufficient interest to explain herself.

She sits, indistinct, a girl reduced to her pose, looking and not-looking, blanking her company and at the same time seemingly oblivious.

In a moment, in a situation like this, someone will speak.








David Mohan has been published in or is forthcoming in PANK, Necessary Fiction, Word Riot, Opium, SmokeLong Quarterly, FRiGG, Contrary, elimae, decomP, NANO and The Chattahoochee Review. He has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize.

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