I’m outside on the patio of The Coffee Bean across the street from UNLV. There is a slender older man in muted tan tailored pants I can see through the window. This man’s feet are dressed with patterned eggshell blue socks and placed inside a sharp pair of Oxfords. His green corded jumper is hiding a collared shirt underneath… though I can’t tell what color (maybe midnight blue?). The wire brimmed glasses he’s wearing are thick enough, and his slightly wild hair stands on end. Oh. His hair is graying in places.
I observe him for a few minutes, and he pauses to rub his eyes, but this is a cue I didn’t need to tell he was tired, the repeated sighing motions in his body were signs enough. There are papers in his hands, but the poor things are only halfheartedly being studied. In an effort to concentrate (a task he appears to be failing miserably at) he consumes an espresso, a pastry, and a few sips of his water. (I have to agree here; this is no time for excessive water drinking.)
Maybe this man is a professor? I am sitting across from a university after all. The gold wedding band on his finger is slightly bigger than it should be. I want to sit next to him and ask why he’s so fatigued and on the path to being gaunt. I’m not one to talk though, I don’t sleep.
My man decides to give up and stares absentmindedly at the coffee counter instead, motionless, and I doubt he’s thinking about much. People tend to move when deep in thought, but un-thoughts are still. The body thickens the air around you in a desperate attempt to put you to sleep. I wonder if he’s too tired to manage his task, or if he’s just idling until a meeting of some sort. Annoyance. I am forced to look away as his gaze trails over to me, causing my pulse to speed up and an Anxiety to pull on my throat.
After composing myself internally, I turned my attention to other things, but out of the corner of my eye, I saw that when he got up to leave he paused in front of the window where I sat. It didn’t occur to me until later that he must have been watching me from the moment I looked down. I wonder what I looked like to my stranger. I wonder what he saw.