This afternoon in the botanical gardens I met a woman from Singapore named Eliza. Before I learned that she was Singaporean, or that her name was Eliza, I came across her siting quietly on an iron bench, nestled beneath an arrangement of succulent trees in an unkempt greenhouse wing, immersed in a book. Trying not to disturb her reading, I sat down on the opposite end of the bench, recovered my notebook from my jacket pocket, and began writing. The only audible sounds were that of trickling water and intermittent voices. The voices swelled and receded below the convex glass of the Palm House.
After several minutes had passed, the young woman turned to me and asked, "Pardon me, but are you a writer?" I closed my notebook and said, "No, are you?" She refocused her eyes back upon the book resting on her knees and said, "No, but I want to be". I smiled and responded, "me too".