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Something is always hidden
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I am a people watcher. One of my favorite past times is to sit on a park bench and watch people walk by. I imagine who they are, what type of work they do, any family? A man walks by with a large Rottweiler. He is wearing a baseball hat, but I think he’s bald underneath. His head is hidden. He is wearing dark glasses, so I can’t tell the color of his eyes and with a mask on, it is impossible to tell if he is smiling or crying or staring at me. I decide that he works for the CIA and his dog is trained to smell bombs. They are on patrol and not smiling or looking at anyone in particular. I imagine that he has a wife at home and a 5 year old boy. He faces danger in the day time, but going home to his family is a joy. He never talks about his work, but instead appreciates every minute with his family. They eat together, he will do the laundry and they both play with their son. On weekends, they go to the zoo. Today he is walking the lake. He’s been given a tip that someone left a bag near the water’s edge, unattended. He is trying to be calm and appear to be walking his dog as so many others are. But, if you watch carefully, you can see that all of his muscles are tensed. His dog is a mirror of the alert, tense mood. They pass two women who are talking and walking together. As they pass I hear one of them say, “I don’t know what he wants from me…”. Woman #1 is blonde and very fit. She is walking fast and the woman #2 has dark hair and is slightly overweight, trying to keep up. #1 does not pay attention to her difficulty walking that fast. She is very involved in her story. I imagine that she is a lawyer and she is speaking about her boss. She wants to make partner but no matter how many clients she takes or how many wins she accumulates, she can’t seem to please him. With each sentence, she walks even faster, as if she will overcome the problem. Woman #2 is unhappy in her home. She has a husband that is violent and although not often, he occasionally drinks too much and gets mad. He has hit her and she has become afraid of him. She is distracted and not really relating to her friend’s frustration at not making partner yet. Her husband has been gambling and they may not make the mortgage and her friend’s problems are asinine compared to her own…. But, they are friends so they keep walking… I am sitting on the bench and look like a middle aged woman who is maybe resting from a long walk or maybe just enjoying the sun on the water. I could be retired and have time to walk in the middle of the day or on a break from work. Maybe I am lonely and that’s why I am sitting by myself on a busy path, people watching. Or maybe I had a recent death and my stare is vacant as I am just letting the grief wash over me in a calm place. I think about myself now. What am I hiding? Sometimes I am lonely, but often it is without present cause. I have a full life with many people who love me. I have been told that I seem happy and calm when I am actually feeling lost and don’t know what I am doing or if my life has any meaning. Sometimes I am in a hurry, but it’s not because I have an appointment or I’m late, but because I need to find a bathroom. Urgency makes me rush. Usually my insides do match my outsides. I do actually carry my emotions on my sleeve. But, sometimes, I am reliving old feelings, that came out of a past trauma and it is hard to read. I don’t even know how I feel and it does stay hidden to anyone that is not looking closely. I think we all pass each other and do not look closely. What is this person thinking, doing, worried about? What are they hiding today?

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