Friday, March 8, 2013


Every day on my way to work, I walk past a man who is also on his way to work.  Every single day.  And every single day, when we pass each each, we smile and nod. His nod is very quick and his smile is very slight.  We've walked past each other every day for the past two years.  I don't know where he works and I don't know where he is coming from, but apparently we both need to be at work at the same time every day and that's why we see each other.  He is probably 50 or something and I've always wondered about him.

I wonder if we'll ever say hello to each other or if we'll just keep nodding and smiling.  It makes me a little sad though because in two months I won't walk that way anymore and I won't get to see him every day and I'll miss that little part of my morning.  I don't know who he is or where he is going or what his story is. I don't know his name and I don't know if I'll ever speak a word to him.  And the same will be true for him; he'll probably never know my name or where I work or what my story is or how much I love that he is a consistent part of my morning.

And because we never talk, I sometimes feel like we're holding in a secret. Our own little secret that nobody knows, not even the two of us.

I like to imagine that he works at the business school and that he loves his job. I imagine that he is a well-loved professor and that the students like him for his quiet and polite manner. I imagine that he has a wife and kids at home who are proud of him for getting up so early every morning and walking to work and who can't wait for him to come home again.  I imagine that he has big goals and dreams still waiting for him and that he has high hopes for the future.  Those are the secrets I imagine him having.

And maybe they aren't really secrets, but since I don't know whether or not they're real, they're secrets to me.

And sometimes I think that the reason I imagine those secrets about him is because those are the kinds of secrets I wish for myself as well.


Ellen said...

Ok - I was surprised at the ending, but I really like the way you brought it back together. How interesting; I, too, may look for elements of my idealized life in other people's mysterious worlds. Will you speak to him before the end? Would that ruin it?

Chris H. said...

You are creating a story for him from your wonder and from appreciation that he notices you in a slightly friendly way. Do you wonder if there are others like him who cross your path but you've just not noticed each other? Maybe his path will change, too.

BK said...

Now there's a story to create if you want to maintain the real silence... You can make this story your own :)

Jeremiah said...

I asked him about you and he didn't know what I was talking about. Either he has Alzheimers, or you just aren't that memorable of a person to him.

Mom said...

What a sweet and thoughtful post:). Dreams...a great thing to have!