On the outside…

You see that she’s Asian. You see the quiet demeanor. The eyes following your gestures and your speech. You see her hands flutter to her face, almost protectively shielding herself from incoming dust. Then you see her feet fidget…but sometimes at pauses, it dances slightly on the floor. She wears scuffed street sneakers with low-rising white socks. She bites her lips from time to time, almost checking to make sure that part of herself is there.

You wonder if she is nice. She smiles and laughs at the right places. But then you make your presentation. You think that she might glaze back like all her colleagues. Their eyes rolling back in boredom, but they’re too polite to admit their disinterest. You think that she might do that and fall into a quietness.

But it’s then she snaps. Her fiery, feisty side comes to life. You can tell that people regard her with respect—her silence often broken with a sharp, smart observation. Then she falls back into silence. But this silence only means that the gears are working in her brain—coming with an attack? coming with a sharp jab?

She hates the word “nice”.

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