Citadels

The woman in the red dress doesn’t care. Gazing out through the train window, she watches the hills, the fields, the trees and roads and houses alternate in patterns determined by ancient migrations and settlings old and new.

The creaks and rattles of the shuttling train are background noise to a gazing intense in its lack of purpose. It might be that her eyes are tricks painted over her eyelids. It might be that she doesn’t gaze at all.

She doesn’t care. Her gazing non-gazing hits the glass of the window where she sees your face, catches your eyes looking into hers. She stares as though transfixed by the landscape. She stares and pretends that holding your gaze through glass is not uncomfortable. For you, she means. You hear her say it, Let it not be uncomfortable for you, although her lips do not move.

The woman in the red dress looks at nothing, building citadels in her head that resemble Rome on a hillside. Seven hillsides.

Your eyes roll and darkness falls with a solid predictability. You see the citadels, the seven hillsides. You see the chiding marble of their walls and you shiver.

When you wake, she’s gone.

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