She sometimes watches 6:30 sunlight turn the cheap salt and pepper shakers above her sink into crystal. There are mornings she watches the retired couple on the bus share a single doughnut and tries to hide her envy. (Do they notice it?).

Some afternoons she stops on the way home and pretends to look at her briefcase-when she is really watching best friends sing a rap version of a jump rope song-shared friendship bracelets and switched shoes (I'll wear my left and you'll wear my right, ok??, ) She thinks about what she would say if they would ask her to join in.

At least once a week she stops into a local deli to order some lunchmeat and listens to the varied accents behind the counter and the scent of so many different foods on the shelves. Is she the only one who closes her eyes and imagines she is in Parma?- in Nice?

She goes to music stores and looks over the shoulder at people at the headphone kiosk and listens to what strangers are listening to -just because, She goes to the library and reads the first chapter of any book left on a table unattended, because she had a teacher in college who recommended it.

"Forced randomness" he called it.

It's an apt description of her life. She knows it fits her, but she's just a little curious why she hasn't found the other members of her civilization.

for grundoon