Commuting literature

The Reader

He stands with his back against the wall of the carriage, wearing a light blazer. In the damp morning press of people, he smells powerfully of freshly eaten oranges. In his hands, a book he’s reading intently, never looking up even as the metro sways and jolts him. A worn orange Penguin paperback  edition of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Is it he who smells of oranges I wonder, or the book.


The Writer

A man gets in, and stretches his arm over to hold the bar I’m standing next to. His arm crosses in front of my mouth, and I feel trapped against the wall. Over his arm, there’s a woman, also standing unecessarily close. I can see the screen of her phone as she types in English.


I see

The predictive text of her phone suggests she completes the sentence with: him kiss her and it makes me hot. My curiosity is piqued. She ignores the predictive text.


I see a woman completely deprived

Perhaps it’s just a common text message I think, slightly loftier wording, but the same mean judgements we all make.


I see a woman completely deprived of sight……in the hands….


Does she mean the woman is blind or is she blind folded?


I see a woman completely deprived of sight……in the hsvs of a man


She goes back to correct the typo.


I see a woman completely deprived of sight…….in the hands of a man…..who wants her to feel 


That’s sweet. A man caring for a blind woman. She exits typing mode to read the fragment. The recorded voice announces my stop. Stop editing and finish the story, for god’s sake!


I see a woman completely deprived of sight… the hands of a man……who wants her to feel everything……through him, under his power


And exit.


Front cover of 'Lady Chatterley's Lover', Penguin edition, 1960
Front cover of ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’, Penguin edition, 1960
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