Concentrated stares…glowers unbroken…
I sat down next to a fellow on the streetcar on my trek home this evening. He was collecting his bag to make his adjacent seat available for the filling streetcar. Keeping his pad/binding of paper close to his bag, face down into it, pen still in hand. He’d stare off into space, then fixate on people standing up to leave.
Unwavering gaze, before he would suddenly break focus and scribble on his paper. Put it back face down. Stare. Occasionally focus on someone else in the forward view. Scribble away briefly. Put it away.
I fear he was taking notes on people…scribbling away random observations about them as they left…or potentially worse…
…or that he’s making visual notes…remembrances by which to recall these people. Now I worry slightly. Who on earth have I sat down next to?
Most people leave my streetcar before my stop arrives. He never budges. I start to wonder if he’s not deliberately lingering as an observer, as opposed to really going anywhere. I stand up to get ready to disembark at my stop. I peripherally notice his eyes drawing to me as I stand and leave my seat.
My heartbeat picks up slightly; my insecurities make me wonder what on earth he’s going to scribble down regarding me. I migrate towards the rear exit. I step down onto the exit steps, awaiting the draw up to the station.
I glance over at his pad, hoping to steal a glance at what he’s scribbling. Praying my glasses focus sharp enough to see what riddles he’s captured.
He scribbles down a “7” into a sudoku grid.
I feel the heat flush to my face in embarrassment as I step off into the cool, drizzling air. He’s likely no more than a man too focused on solving his puzzle, incidentally staring at people only out of coincidence/distraction…