I saw her board the train and sit beside the man who was coughing. She seemed nice enough. She would have been in her thirties or forties. It was hard to tell as she carried a bit of weight. She had thick brown hair that curled around her face and over her eyes. Her featherdown coat was not really necessary that day. The temperature was above zero.
The thing I noticed most about her was her briefcase. It was one of those naturally tanned leather ones with impeccable stitching. The sort found only in Italy. She must have paid a fair bit for it. Or perhaps it was a Christmas present?
Anyway, she kept to herself at first but then I saw her looking at the man beside me. When she caught me watching her, she would quickly look away, then look back at him again. And you know how it is when someone is staring at someone else? It sort of makes you stare back? Well, that was how it was. I had to keep staring at her.
So when she turned to look out of the window, I was relieved. The passing villages were closed against the cold and the bare trees rushed past us as if we were the wind itself. It was warm in the train, like an oven. Sitting there, I felt like a roast chicken looking out of an oven door.
Suddenly I noticed that her eyes weren't moving. You know when you look out of a train window while the world is whizzing past and your eyes flicker left and right? Well, hers weren't doing that. So that's when I realised she was still watching him, through the reflection in the window!
She did this the whole trip. It was so rude! The poor man beside me wasnt' stupid though. He knew. She made him so nervous that he kept fidgeting. I can't say exactly what he was doing, but he stayed restless for the remainder of the trip. Then the train pulled into Zurich and he leaped up and dashed down the aisle like a prison escapee.
The following week, I saw an article in the paper about a woman who had been charged with harrassing a man on a train. I wondered if it was her. I guess I'll never know...