words caffeinated

Breaking Off Bits of Other People’s Lives

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A man scribbles on a notepad on the other side of the courtyard, his long, uncombed hair held back loosely in a colorless ribbon. He’s probably waiting for the train, distractedly looking up from his task now and then to peer down the tracks. It doesn’t appear to be words on his notepad– drawings of some kind. He abruptly puts the notepad down and takes a drink of water from a small bottle, never noticing the people around him.

Our tour guide yesterday was interestingly strange. He enjoyed using the words and phrases, “Indeed,” “partake,” and “If I may.” He wore sandals where his large, wrinkled toes jutted out from them, trudging along as he showed us around the campus grounds. Shiny white teeth glared out of his dark face when he smiled. A sincere, embracing smile as he enjoyed himself walking us around.

My music is too loud, as usual, driving to buy another pack of cigarettes. A boy walks on the sidewalk– not walks, but instead dances– his earphones on and his arms being thrown out in erratic disarray. Uncaring of the others walking the same sidewalk or the cars passing, his mouth moving with the lyrics of a song, dancing… dancing.

A young girl on the subway mouths the words to a book as she reads, ignoring the cramped bundles of bodies surrounding her. I can see she has braces, glinting now and then as she stumbles over a word. Her ears face outwards, giving her a waifish, almost elven look. The subway stops quickly, causing our suitcases to fall over, and she looks up and watches us a while. Breaking off bits of each other’s lives.

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