Dear stranger, I miss you and appreciate you

:Photograph by Brevitē / Unsplash

Most people find other people obstacles in their way to what they need to do. Me, on the other hand, I love observing people. Being a writer, it’s natural to have this as your favourite pastime. It comes with the occupation: describing situations and peoples interactions in an engaging way. Today, I surprised myself in shedding tears for a stranger.

To be grateful

When I have an errand I often go a bit earlier so I can listen to a podcast or music whilst talking the long way round to my destination. I do this so I can watch you and how you interact with others. People fascinate me and it is in the little things you do.

How you react when being spoken to by others who wonder if the seat is taken. You might be the one who shows confusion and insecurity because you felt you had taken up too much space or, you might be the one who gladly collects your bag from the empty seat and express how the seat is all theirs.

How you watch others when you don’t know you are being watched and doing exactly what I am doing with you. I watch you most gently because I don’t want you to see that you are a watcher too. I don’t want you to think that there is something wrong in what you do, because I love people too.

I also love watching when you are doing little acts of kindness to strangers even though they don’t appreciate it at the time, but still you do it. Maybe you trust what I have experienced, that people do appreciate it at a later time, when they a bit later tell their friend about how kind you were and how it impacted their life, at the right time.

Walking alone

Today I walked to the hospital to check if I had more cancerous moles to remove. I had been dreading the consultation for two months and the distance is a 20-minute walk. Normally, I would at least enjoyed my walk, because I would have met you and so many others on your way to and from school or work. Maybe you work shifts and you are out on your way to something you have been dreading too, and meeting people would’ve helped you too.

However, about ten minutes of my walk today was empty sidewalks and I felt a bit of a heartache coming on for you, the strangers I meet every day. Don’t get me wrong: I am happily in love with my husband who I love being at home with and my teenage children. I am a social person more on the introvert scale meaning where I enjoy people and the small interactions.

I miss saying hello to you as you serve my coffee and I joke a bit about a bird apparently being lost, blissfully eating crumbs in the coffee shop as I play with words with you. I miss saying a proper thank you as you hold the bus for a few seconds more before you drive off. I miss listening to you talk in a subtle excitement at the movie theatre whilst eating all your candy and popcorn before the movie even starts.

The reminder

There weren’t any cancerous moles this time. I will have five more years of checking every inch of my body for evil little moles, and I hope in three months time that I will see you on my walk.

I have a seven centimeter scar from the one they removed and the dermatologist suggested that I should tape the scar so it would heal more beautifully. I said I didn’t like the tape, it itches like ants, which is true for me, but not the real reason.

The scar is a reminder to me of a transition in my life, from when I found myself. You see, as I got the news of cancerous cells six months ago, after thinking about my family and how this would affect them, I thought about writing, which I had been putting off for years. The very next day I started to write, and I have been writing, every day as opposed to a couple of days every few months as I did before the news. This surgery woke me up.

You are not alone

The inner drive and importance of writing, to me, being the one filled with stories of observing you and others finally got my attention. I now knew that this was what I desired to do for the rest of my life and I often think about what it will be like when I am eighty years old, and I am still writing.

I miss seeing you out and about being you, and I look forward to seeing you again when all this social distancing is over. Even though you are alone in your home right now, or with someone, you are missed, by a stranger who sees you.

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