Portrait of a Girl

by Elizabeth

The girl in the corner sat perfectly still and balanced a breath on the curve of her lip. She did not or could not care that the place was positively brimming with people, many of them expiring sighs and shifting their weight from leg to leg because there were no seats to take, and though the fact of the matter was very plain – the girl was the size of a bird and her table was unusually grand – she did not show the slightest indication that she was thinking of making room. Her skin was fair, more or less the color of skimmed milk, that is to say, white with some thinness about it, and there was some translucence, too, making you recall a girl from a story who walked nightgowned in convalescence for a year or more. Now you noticed the girl in the corner had long hair, hanging straight and brown, and it was neither thick nor thin, but something uncertainly in the middle, though the individual strands were fine like silk; and she wore a black headband, simple and slim, not pushed too far toward the crown of her head, instead sitting inconspicuously above a row of very straight bangs. She had exceedingly green eyes and the white surrounding the green was exceedingly clear and together they were bright and round and when they looked out at you, you were struck dumb and thought to yourself that there was a beautiful girl, but you couldn’t say how you thought she was beautiful exactly, because she was so like a bird, and everything that touched her was vague and mute and on the point of flying away.