You wouldn’t notice her if you didn’t really look. She was small, slender, with big eyes and dark hair falling onto her forehead like waves crashing onto the sea. She was always in the corner of the room, never in the centre, as though the centre was far too accessible, too open, too vulnerable a place to be in. she always had her head in a book, as though the spaces between the words made a pathway to freedom. There was something about her, but you wouldn’t ever know what. If you didn’t know her you wouldn’t know that she had a fire inside her, kept ablaze by the stories she dove into everyday. Reality was a formality for her. It was where she had to be. But she knew it was not where she belonged. She was aware of the way people would sometimes stare at her as she walked by, or the way people would try to talk to her, engage her in casual conversations. She would always shut them off politely. She didn’t mean to be rude or stand-offish, she simply preferred her own company. She was alone, but not lonely. She was quiet, but not without opinions. She was dreamy, but not ignorant. Maybe that was the thing about her- she was a series of paradoxes, captured in unspoken, unwritten words, bound with a thin, whimsical thread and paperback covers.