London has always been my home, I’ve lived here most of my life but it’s only now I’ve returned that I’m really seeing it.
It’s a beautiful place full of the most interesting people that nobody ever takes the time to meet.
A smile to a stranger is so rare that when it happens it’s often confused as flirtation or sarcasm.
The underground for example, is set up to be the most social form of transport, no telephone signal, no wifi and all the seats face eachother. More often than not you find yourself with your face in someones armpit or a teeny bit too close to their nose! It’s the perfect place to spark up a friendship, acquaintance, or dare i say it…a romance, yet we all do our very best to avoid eye contact and say the bare minimum of words, resulting mostly in strange animal like grunts.
Normally i am one of those people, not out of rudeness but just because it’s the norm. I tend to drift away in my own little make believe world where unicorns sing magical songs and rainbows fill the sky…but today i find myself seeking out eye contact, desperately trying to find someone who will exchange smiles with me, share a bit of their personality, show me that they are alive and not just existing in their shell.
A young boy is sat, head down studying his medical flash cards – I’m assuming preparing for an exam. I want to go and wish him luck, give him that extra confidence boost.
A young girl holds her head in her hands shaking her legs as though she is a nervous traveller – i want to go and tell her it’s gonna be ok and theres nothing to worry about, tell a dumb joke to make her laugh.
An elderly woman gets on, sits down, closes her eyes and breaths heavily. Composing herself she takes a sip of water and starts reading a leaflet pulled from her bag, her facial expressions suggest it’s a very interesting read – i want to ask her about it, learn what she is so intrigued by.
I want to do all these things but i don’t. The doubt overcomes me and i convince myself they will just think I’m a crazy woman who is far too interested in their lives, which means i must have bad intentions…so i sit quietly and watch them all, so fascinating…so beautiful…so unaware.
A smart old man with grey dreadlocks halfway down his back is reading a newspaper, he seems so powerful, so silent.
He stands to exit the train, he catches my eye, i smile…he smiles back and says hello.
I DID IT!
Hundreds of people so intent on being invisible and i connected with one.
I feel happy 😊