I walk the same distance every day. The weather changes. Sometimes the sun filters through the branches. Other times you can see your reflection in the dirty puddles clinging stubbornly to the side of the road. Often enough, you have an opportunity to swear at cars spraying the contents of said puddles all over you. The distance might be the same, but the circumstances change, surroundings shift. That chubby girl you see everyday changes her hair. Just the other day her curls were suddenly straight. Not a good look on her. Adds ten pounds. Makes her look fat instead of appealingly round.
The weird watcher relentlessly surveys the street, day after day. One day he’s a reliable pillar you can count on, a familiar bearded face which makes you feel closer to the world. Other days you notice he’s been wearing the same shirt for several days and his face belongs to someone slightly crazed, not all there. You take precious time to cross the street as to avoid his presence in the personal space reserved for people with clean shirts, not wearing flip-flops and socks on a rainy day. As days shift and moods turn, you pass him and you smile. Reason has no place on the walking distance.
The woman in black is at the tram station. The same woman from ten years ago, when I lived halfway across the town. It disturbs me. Her constant presence in my life. I feel the need to say hi, talk to her. Ask her was that her back there, back then. Has she recently moved? Why do we keep sharing tram stations during these ten years of seemingly unrelated existence?
The chubby girl with (usually) curly hair is surprisingly punctual. Without even noticing, I start measuring time according to the particular segment of the street I see her. If we meet near the weird watcher, I know I’m on time. If I meet her near the enormous cherry tree which sprouted an awkward branch, then I know I can slow down. If I see her curls bouncing on the pedestrian crossing, then I know I need to hurry if I want to get to work on time.
We share this one street, my weird nameless friends and I. And I want to ask the weird watcher what on earth he is doing. I want to see if he is “cuckoo” or is he conducting an extensive sociological research, and if so, what is his method? I want to know why the woman in black never seems happy. Happiness would look good on her pale face with small features and dark eyes. I want to say to the chubby blonde she looks much better with her curls bouncing merrily around her face, making her seem buoyant and proud.
Instead, I keep quiet and I keep walking the distance.