Nine O`clock, on a Street

Note: the entirety of this is real. No parts have at all been made up or had their truth changed in any way. This is not a story.

Walking down a street made me realize that I love many things.

I hadn’t brought any money with me, so my options for going back home from the lecture about film and camera dynamics I’d attended comprised only one: walking back. Just as well, I love walking. I’m one of those people who makes a point of doing small things I think are healthy. I try to walk and run as often as I can (several times I walked what ultimately is a two-hour journey on foot from the school district to downtown).

It was 9 pm, and the streets were empty. Only a car or two were to be found on the road at any given time. I love that. Sometimes, when it’s late, I walk in the middle of the empty streets where the cars are supposed to be, and feel like it’s a post-apocalyptic film; the city falls silent, and no one is anywhere within sight. If people in this city stay up late, they do so away from where I can see or hear them.

But it was 9 o’clock, and people, however few, still walked the street. At the first zebra crossing I walked by, there was a lady with a baby stroller. Sitting inside the stroller, looking fascinated and perhaps slightly afraid, was the lady’s baby. It reminded me of old pictures of my mother and me. My mother would take me, her first-born, out in a pram and we’d go on adventures together. We waited until the light flashed green, and when it did we crossed the street, along with everyone else who’d been there.

Ahead of us the street narrowed, so I stopped so she’d walk ahead of me. I didn’t want her to have to walk behind me in the narrowed road; I was walking slowly, and I didn’t imagine anyone would like that, least of all she who reminded me of my mother, if only slightly.

The street widened again, a lot larger and busier now. Downtown. The entire time she walked ahead of me, I kept thinking maybe I should help her with lifting the stroller over the elevated edges of sidewalks. I don’t know if that’s offensive. Would it be condescending of me to help in such a situation? I only wanted to help. Which I didn’t do.

I walked by the Lebanese restaurant and for the few seconds it took me to walk past it, through the large window, I saw two fighting inside. One was the cook, his outfit betrayed his identity. The other wore a suit, he could have been the manager. They were loudly shouting and gesticulating the way people who animatedly fight do. Maybe someone had got a wrong order and complained; or got their order with an unexpected -and perhaps unwanted- addition. I don’t know, I didn’t listen in.

Then I walked by one of the coffee shops that shall not be named. You know them, they’re everywhere now. I don’t like them. I’m not the biggest fan of coffee. Through the window I saw the table where The Rambling Observer and I usually sit. She orders her cup of cappuccino or frappuccino or something, I honestly don’t know; I order nothing because I don’t like coffee, as mentioned. I thought how much I valued our friendship. All my friendships, for that matter. I’m what they refer to as being blessed; in that, I find I`ve been dealt a favourable hand of cards in the poker game of life. I’m thankful.

Then I walked by a man loudly talking over the phone. He was walking in the stream of pedestrians walking in the opposite direction of that I was walking in. A man of around fourty. In a cheerful voice, he said: “Ezzayak ya ‘am Mohammad?” (“How are you, Mohammad?” in the Egyptian dialect of Arabic). That was the only line of his conversation I -unwillingly- heard as we brushed past each other. For some reason, unsupported by any evidence whatsoever, I though Mohammad was his friend from his university days, that they had not talked in years, and that on that street they were reunited after the long absence over a phone call.

A few yards away from the apartment building where I live, there was a four-by-four car the driver of which seemed to have driven into the raised area separating the sidewalk from the street. She or he then righted that, and drove down into the underground parking structure. I stepped into the building,  greeted the doorman and smiled, (I always do, every day, without fail), and stepped into the lift; the third one from the left. Out of the four there, it is the one most frequently displaying the G sign, so being the one I ride the most.

In the time I rode the lift I made a series of faces in the mirror. The Supermodel. The Superman. The Goofy Guy. The Snob. The Sad Cute Face. The I Look Surprised As If An Alien Spaceship Landed Before Me. I then dropped the used tissue I had in my hand in the small metal trash can in the corner of the lift.

My sisters had left the door unlocked for me, so I simply walked in. I found my laptop and thought, Maybe this is worth writing about. So I did. If you’re reading this, that means I didn’t decide it wasn’t worth showing anyone, highlighted the entire text of the file, and deleted it.

I love the little things that make up my life. I’m only happy when I take note of their existence. I love the faces I saw and will likely never see again as long as I live. The fact that this day will now be burned in my memory. This feeling of contentment. Now, if you are reading this, I want to hug you.

I wish you happiness, human/humanoid/creature that has developed the ability to read and browse the Internet.

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4 comments

  1. I love this. I love how you are everyday. This is beautiful.
    P.S. I will write something similar to that. But I never smile to the doorman. I go out of my way to not look at him. It says a lot about me. Same way that how you never fail to says a lot about you.

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