Unnoticed Departures

L,

I looked up from the book I was reading to see this woman who had a passing resemblance to Scarlett Johansson. Our brown eyes met briefly and I looked away, almost shy that I’d been caught staring, and then I returned my eyes to the book in my hand.

Yesterday an intern walked into the room I sat alongside my group mates waiting for enlightment. He was the classic tall dark and handsome, or at least I assume he was, based on what the girl next to me said about how fine he looked.

Later in the evening, while standing by a bus stop, I became aware of someone watching me. Somehow you know when someone is watching you. I was, as I have been almost all week, reading a book. Glancing up into the bus that was idling there I beheld a young African woman staring at me. She didn’t look away when our eyes locked on each other. I thought it was a mistake. That she just happened to be looking out through the window when I unwittingly met her gaze. So I returned to my book, but the feeling never left me, and so soon I was once more looking into those eyes.

What did she see, I wondered. I’ve seen myself through the eyes of those around me. No one I’ve met thinks to themselves when they see me walk into the room, ‘my oh my, isn’t he handsome. ‘ I have a deep dislike for goodbyes,and as such I hardly say so before I excuse myself from people’s presence. I simply stand up quietly and walk away. More often than not, my departure goes unnoticed. Frequently I’ll be asked what time I left a get-together or a class, which only serves to affirm the belief I have developed that no one notices me.

But this person on the other side of that lightly tinted glass noticed me. Part of me thinks if I hadn’t been waiting for a different bus I’d have gotten on board that one and walked all the way to her seat just to enquire of her why she had noticed me.

As the bus pulled away we held that gaze until it was no longer possible to do so. Neither had smiled at the other. No frowns either. No words were mouthed. We just looked at each other, for a few seconds and that was that. Just like that, I felt momentarily healed from my anonymity. But only momentarily.

T.

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2 thoughts on “Unnoticed Departures

  1. Great post. I think about that often too. How other people view you, and how you view yourself, truly are two polar opposite things. Unfortunately for most of us, how we view ourself is not as great as how other view us.

    1. That is true. I think we know that who we know ourselves to be is greater than what people know us to be but it is often easier to listen to others than yourself.

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