I sit in a coffee shop watching Y pick arugula off her sandwich, bored.

“Why are you sad?” I ask.

A piece of arugula fuses with her nail. She flicks it. It lands on the bag of the man sitting at an adjacent table. He doesn’t notice.

Y shrugs. “I’m not sad.”

“Well, you look sad.”

“I’m not.”

I watch her take a string of arugula off her finger with her teeth.

“Then, why do you look sad?” I ask, pressing, unsure of why.

She shrugs. “My eyes lie.”

“Even to me?”

She shakes her head. “No, mostly to strangers.” Then she looks thoughtful a moment. “You’re just an idiot.”

“Uh-huh.” I sip my coffee. We sit in silence for a while.

“I had a weird morning,” she decides over a bit of mozzarella between two fingers.

“Oh yeah?”

She nods.

“An Arab man sat in front of me on the subway. I looked into his eyes because I thought he looked like a terrorist.”

I choke on a bit of coffee. “That’s a bit racist.”

Y rolls her eyes. “Some people are a bit racist, some are honest, some are both. Get over it. Anyways, I was looking into his eyes. He looked very suspicious. I started to think if maybe he will kill someone, or blow up the train.”

She eats the bit of mozzarella. “Then I thought, he might be trying to say something to me. He was looking so intensely into my eyes. Maybe he was trying to tell me that he was planning to do something terrible. He kept looking at his backpack. So I looked at him very seriously so he might think I know his plan.”

Y stops and takes a bite of her whole sandwich this time, remembering. I wait.

“So then he takes out his phone and starts typing away on it. He kept looking up at me as he did. So I thought maybe his plan is about to happen and I should leave the train. But then, he handed me his phone.”

I frown. “What did it say?”

“It said, ‘why are you looking at me that way? do I scare you?'”


“And I wrote him back saying ‘do you think you can scare me?'”

“Of course you did, so?”

“So then he started writing a lot, I waited. And then he handed my back the phone. It said ‘Can I have your number?'” Y rolls her eyes. “So, I pretended to type something, then at the next stop I got off.”

Y looks finished. I think about it.

“I’m not sure anyone comes off well in that story.”

“It’s not over. So, I went home wondering why people are so damn boring. And I get a message. It says ‘Your eyes were so sad, it makes me sad too'”

I lean forward, confused, “wait, from who?”

“The fake terrorist!”

“He found you?”

Y nods.


“He found my profile. He said I embarrassed him on the subway and then he said ‘it’s easy to find your eyes even from a million users'”

I sigh, finish my coffee and try to make sense of life for a moment. I give up.

“It’s creepy, right?” she says.

“Super creepy,” I agree.

Then she smiles, “But not boring, anything is better than boring.”

“Uh huh, maybe he is a serial killer.”

Y looks into the corner of the room, wistful, “yeah, maybe.”

A Writer and an artist living in Russia

30 Comment on “Terrorism With a Bit of Arugula

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