I walk by my everyday people each morning. I know their stories well. Not really. Really, I have completely made them up. Yet, I mostly believe them. When I tell them to myself so often, my truth is stronger than the actual one I do not know.
There is the older man all in brown. Brown pants. Brown coat. Brown hat. He is gentle and smiley. He moves quietly and sure footed. If he walked in the forest, his footsteps wouldn’t make a sound. He always says good morning and returns my smile. I am sure he is a man of routine. His shoes have an exact spot on a rack. He never kicks them off. He walks at the same time, shops at the same time, rests at the same time. His wife is tired. She rarely joins him but they share morning coffee every day, each sipping and looking elsewhere. When he walks, he thinks of what must be done. Sometimes, he surprises himself and remembers things he thought he had forgotten. His route is long. His morning walk takes time. He never misses a day.
There is the gangly boy. A teenager actually. He has two siblings. An older brother, a more serious and wiry version of him. A younger sister, energetic and bouncy, clearly a girl in a boy’s house. Most concerned about being seen, being heard, not missing anything. Sometimes these siblings walk together. There is easy banter and comfortable silence. Usually, though, my boy is alone. He gives me sideways smiles, acknowledgement that he sees me often. I wonder about his school day. I am sure his mind is often elsewhere – happy daydreams, not teenage melancholy. I think about his parents. I am convinced that their mornings are full of bustle and busy. My boy looks happy to be walking in his own space, in the big world, with no rush around him that he needs to acknowledge. He looks like he knows the freedom a simple walk alone affords him. I imagine his Mom and Dad, lugging overstuffed bags, spilling full travel mugs of coffee, arguing over who remembered and who forgot the daily things that must be attended to. Their son, meanwhile, lopes along, quite carefree, open to a new day.
There is the lady in the pink raincoat. It’s Vancouver. She wears it often. Her boots are practical. She always has an umbrella even if it just hints of rain. I don’t really think about where she is going or what she might do there. Her pace is determined but she carries with her an aura of where she has been. She lives in an apartment she has had for years. It is plain and dull on the outside. Inside it is tiny and hers. There are windows of succulents. Shelves full of books. A kitchen full of tea and spices and bowls of oranges. She has favourite chairs at different times of day. She sits in the kitchen in the morning, drinking hot tea and making lists. Her evenings are spent curled up on her couch reading, thinking, studying. If she is home in the day, she sits in her window and watches people walk by, noticing their movements more than their faces. This is not her forever city. She is here to get something done. Soon, she will return to a place full of sisters and neighbours and friends. When she walks down the street there, she will always say hello.
These are my everyday people. I know who they might be.
I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post every day in March.
Slice of Life is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I thank them for the community they provide. Read more slices here.