I've been noticing people recently. Noticing the people around me, and wondering about them. I wonder, "to where is she walking so quickly?" I wonder "why is his brow furrowed so deeply?" I wonder, "how did he break his arm?" I wonder, "Why does she wear three belts - with none of them through her belt loops?" I wonder, "does he kiss his mother with that mouth?"
I wonder about these people, these strangers. I see countless people everyday - people I know nothing about and probably never will. I wonder what makes them move, smile, work, sing, grieve. I wonder what makes them get up every morning and breathe in.
Sometimes I pretend I know them and am familiar with their stories. I imagine who their friends are and what they do together. I narrate what's going on in their heads. I picture how their houses are decorated and what cars they drive.
the girl who served my tea drives a red saturn. she has a new tabby kitten. she prefers pencils over pens and for her coffee to be milky and sweet. she dances whenever she can, and she knits. her family is small, and she likes it that way. sometimes she still confuses her lefts and her rights - but never for long and not when it really matters.
on the sidewalk i passed a lady who has two children. she does pilates tapes at home and she always cooks breakfast for the family but forgets to eat her own. when she smiles, she never has lipstick on her teeth. she does arts and crafts with her children; she lunches with friends at cafes with complicated sandwiches. when she's uncomfortable, her hands are what give her away. and she never knows quite what to do with her hair.
when the man with the beard lets his mind wander, he imagines himself as the main character of one of the many novels he's read. he has big dreams and finds contentment in simply having them. babies make him smile and he always bends to pet a dog on the sidewalk. he sketches glorious inventions that are so innovative they're inconvenient. he enjoys brussel sprouts and bicycling. in highschool he dressed up as the school mascot. and everyone knew - because he wasn't ashamed.
...But usually I don't take it this far. Usually I just shake my head and smile in wonder at these strangers and their lovely peculiarities.