The Girl With The Camera

By Keir Bristol

The girl sat on the train looking out the window. Her video camera sat heavily in her lap. Outside, the sky was grey but it wasn’t raining yet.

“This train will terminate at WONDERLAND,” announced the conductor in a thick Boston accent. “The next stop is WONDERLAND. Please mind the gap while exiting the train.”

The girl lifted her camera to her eyes and watched the other passengers shift in their seats. The train began to slow.

A boy eyed the girl in his peripheral vision. The train stopped. The people got off. More passengers entered the train. The girl switched her seat.

The boy paused, and then moved next to her.

“Excuse me miss, do you mind if I sit here?”

Slightly annoyed, the girl looked up at him. Her face softened when their eyes met and she nodded.

“You may,” she hesitated, “but may I please have the aisle seat?”

The boy moved aside so that she could get up and he could sit at the window. She started up her tape again and kept filming for another three stops. The boy remained silent.

At the third stop on the way back, the girl began to review her footage. The boy looked on. She didn’t notice at first, but when she did, she yanked the camera away as if embarrassed.

“What exactly are you doing?” he asked.

The girl stiffened and looked down at her sneakers.

“I am videotaping the people who get on and off the train…”

“Why?” the boy asked.

“Because,” she said, fiddling with the camera, “I like to watch people. It probably seems boring, I know. But people do interesting things when they are not around people they know, when they think no one is watching them. Have you ever gone people watching?”

He shook his head. She began to rewind the camera.

They watched the footage together from the beginning. They watched some train performers sing for money, a young boy pick his nose, an old man fall asleep, a couple fighting about a movie they had just seen.

At the second to last stop the girl turned and said, “My stop is next. Where is yours?”

“Wonderland,” he answered. She gave him a confused look.

“I just wanted to meet you,” he said.

The train jerked and they caught the seats in front of them for balance. Their hands brushed each other and they smiled.

——

Just a story that I wrote for class. My teacher really liked it, which made me proud, because she is SO picky.

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