People Watching Again

Watching the world through the eyes of strangers, a cold coffee in my left hand, my right stretches out. Grappling for their dreams, that like smoke on a breeze drift through my fingers, leaving a far-off burning smell to linger and soot to clean. I prefer coffee shops to galleries; I find the best art lies between conversations. Watching the nuanced symphony of gestures that weave between stories. Far more colourful and expressive than oil or water, it tells me more than a canvas ever could. Some people are dancers, their fingertips weaving purposefully through the air from subject to subject, swirling their trained hands to the rhythm of a conversation I can’t quite hear. Others are shyer, smaller, their hands sit in their laps, but maybe they tap, against the table or below their knee. I wonder to myself where it is they must have to be? There’s something quite magic in observing strangers. The notion that a life you most probably will never encounter again has happened to be in the same place as you, right now. All those people and here you are. That must mean something right? Or not, I suppose. Perhaps therein lies the beauty of human life: There is no point, and yet we persist.
I wonder what makes the woman with the laptop smile, who that man is going home to or if anyone here is taking a train. And I could ask these questions and know the answers, but that’s not quite the same, is it? The ambiguity of human expression in observance makes it so compelling. The endless possibilities behind a smile. That’s what makes us watch.
Someone, across the shop, with a hot beverage in hand, is probably watching me. Wondering what it could be that I’m so furiously typing about…

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