There is a guy I see every morning on the #6 Richmond bus to school. He is middle-aged, maybe on the older side. Scruffy, always travelling in a bit of a daze with a coffee mug in hand and a lunch box. Always the same salty winter jacket. He gets off the bus about 5 stops after I get on. I’ve never seen him look up at me, despite the fact that each day I pass by him in the aisle and wonder. I wonder about him, what he does, if he has family… and why his eyes look blank.
There is another gentleman that I’ve noticed. He is much older. Wears a big red parka, open in the front even on the coldest days. He walks a bit hunched over, clasping his hands behind his back as he walks. He walks and walks – I see him all over downtown, but I know he lives in my building. Quite often he is sitting on the stairs, smoking. I was disturbed the first few times I saw him, just wandering around our parking lot. He is respectful when I say hello, or hold the door open. He looks alone, though…and I wonder about his internal world, too.
There is some comfort in seeing another human being, just going about their day. Something about that emptiness – the emptiness I see in both of these people – that shows me they are inside their own worlds. I wonder what’s in there for other people, since I just know my own. Could being so empty on the outside really mean that you are completely full on the inside?