Ghost | Andres Johnson

Photo by michal dziekonski on Unsplash

Today I went unnoticed. Ran across town, pounding pavement in public, passerby unaware of my personal paranoia. They all had headphones on or covered their eyes with sunglasses to block out the reality of a gray sky. I felt suspicious. Someone staring should think I’m sketchy. On a park bench, sprawled out, fighting sleep, and nobody stopped.

            On my left was another bench with a plaque dedicated to some unfortunate, sick child with a rich father. Or maybe I was being too insidious with my assumptions. Maybe there was a different story there… but I could not find it as I sat sideways staring. I was too distracted… what if someone saw me? I reached out to touch the lettering on the plaque, anticipating the coldness of the metal before becoming conscious of the coldness coming from a stranger’s stare. I looked up… and the stranger had paused… I thought I was seen… then her eyes followed the chipmunk I had been too absorbed to acknowledge.

            Just as nobody had noticed me, I had done the same with another living creature. The chipmunk, living and breathing, had taken up space in this world, and yet failed to find his spot in my mind’s perception.

            I got up and left before I could think more on the subject.

Today I felt alive. Everything around me was too detailed to enjoy. Each broken brick of a building bearing variations of red brown in its own pattern. I wanted to stop and study the individual dirt deposits… how long would they stay that way? Tomorrow I could come back and meet a whole new landscape. There is never enough time to take it all in, but today I tried. I traced my way through the tainted tracks that were given the title of a town.

            If I had stayed home, I would not be as alone.  Boredom has the power to connect us digitally. But I did that yesterday… and the day before… and probably the day before that too… I can’t recall. Today though- I could recall today a thousand times. I was alone and alive. A world of reality, society’s strangers going about their day. And I was going about my day… alone, but not without things to do. I had to continue experiencing my day before going home and forgetting myself for the night.

            I walked, I ran, I took the metro to the end of the line, standing during rush hour, sitting as the empty car turned around. Unnoticed, but present. Alive.

            When I came home, I didn’t want to talk. I spent the whole day with my internal dialogue;

            But you didn’t want to talk either. I came in the door as you passed by. Our eyes met until our breathing synced. I thought you might speak… you walked up next to me. As you reached the door, your gaze dropped, and you walked out. I guess today I forgot you existed. You, living and breathing, had taken up space in this world, and yet failed to find your space in my mind’s perception.

            It was the first time I was noticed today! But I no longer felt alive.

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