An old man sits alone and plays Solitaire at my local Tim Horton’s. He’s concentrating intensely and yet he’s so far removed from angst. You can tell that he’s enjoying himself. The shuffling, the flipping of every card, the way he holds it in the air until he finds the right spot for it – there is something calming about it. I’m mesmerized. There’s something so sweet and serene about this entire scene that I realize I’ve lost my spot in line. I’m a young girl creeping on an old man and his deck of cards, who has just lost her spot in line. I wonder who noticed. I wonder why I never saw this solitary man, with his deck of cards, his empty coffee mug, and a few crumbs left on his plate. I wonder how many other people noticed him at all.
Solitaire. I guess I’m a solitary person. I like to be alone. I like the quiet. I enjoy silence: I hear it’s golden, although I’ve always pictured it as a shade of pastel pink and tasting like bubble gum. Silence is sweet and sometimes we need to give our mouth a rest and let our eyes take over.
So, this week I let my eyes take over.
* A white box with a huge carrot cupcake appears on my desk with a plop, a lovely handwritten note is stuck onto it. It’s dripping with positive words and beautiful thoughts.
* A young woman with her legs crossed tightly sits across from her friend at Starbucks. Her eyes are rolling so far into the back of her head that I can’t see what colour they are; they’re lost in her lids. A look of disgust is on her lips as she speaks. What is she saying? I don’t want to know. If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
* An abandoned bright orange construction helmet resting beside a sign that screams DANGER! WORKERS ABOVE!
* Red and white business cards falling out of my wallet - I pick them up the same way I’ve picked myself off the floor many times before.
* A seagull’s lonely
quill feather sleeping on the sidewalk, smiling at me. It recognizes the writer who walks past but doesn’t pick it up because she’s also afraid of germs.
* Construction. An ever-growing city.
* Cotton candy clouds spanning further than the end of the earth, shaped perfectly to the dome that is our sky.
* A girl with a smile from ear-to-ear, a spark in her eyes, and a story to tell – I catch her reflection in the subway window and realize that its me.
I saw a lot this week and I tried my best to listen as well. I heard everything around me. I heard praises, scorns, advice, beautiful music, panic, fear, private whispers, and laughter. Hearing. Seeing. Actions we do without thinking, without noticing. My goal for the final three weeks of my internship is to be conscious of what I’m seeing and hearing. I have a few more events coming up, a few more books to read, a few more manuscripts to bind, a few more questions to ask, and plenty more to learn — I want to absorb it all.
I want to learn it all.