I am the alone one. The one who is sitting in the far corner of the cafe with no one else. I am the girl who hides her world behind her sunglasses. I am the one who keeps her head down as she walks the streets. I am the one your gaze passes over as you glance around a crowded room. I am alone in my own world. No one ever sees me. Nobody notices me. I am silent. I am the invisible one.
I pull my dark jacket closer, and shift on my chair. My clothes are different. My hair is different. All my looks are different. I am the plain one. The one who sticks out, and yet goes unnoticed. I am not the same as everyone else. Yet everyone else all seem the same. They are different, but I am more so. I am the odd one.
From the safety of my dark glasses, I watch. I observe. I listen. I am the ignored one as people mill around me, and as I am ignored, they are watched. Watched by the very one they don’t even bother to see. People are curious beings, and yet they frighten me. Their bold clothes, their proud looks, and their hurrying steps as they rush about their perfect lives; all of them so much the same, yet all of them so different. So many numbers, but all unique. They are strange ones.
I study their faces from behind my glasses so they cannot detect my scrutiny. My mind ponders their features. Why does that person frown so? Is he worried? Frustrated? What about that lady - why does she smile so cryptically? Does she know a secret? Is she pleased about something? My gaze jumps to each new passing face and my mind evaluates them at high speeds. So many people, but one me. The watchful one.
A lone person meets my probing eyes, and my heart leaps. Do they know me? Have they guessed my game? Why do they look at me so? Before I can panic, they break into a smile and greet a person coming their way. I relax. It was not me. How could it have been me? I am nobody, I tell myself. The unknown one.
I see a girl my age get up and leave her table, slinging her handbag over her shoulder. What if for a moment I could swap my life for hers: that I would leave the cafe in her shoes, walking her life? Where would I be going? Would I have a home, or a family? Would I be meeting friends I didn’t have, or going to a school I didn’t know? Would she like sitting as I am: watching time flow past in a river of different faces? No, I say to myself. She would not. She would not be content with my lot: the solitary one.
At last I bring myself to leave the safety of my unshared table; the safe mask of my sunglasses firmly in place, protecting my eyes from the curious glances of the strange people I would mingle with. With a confidence I don’t feel, I hold my bag close to my side and begin walking through the mall, my eyes darting here and there at the multitude of passing faces. All of them: same, but different. None of them me. How could they be? I am the only one. And as I walk through the crowd, though I am surrounded by my fellow people, I am alone. Watchful, invisible, silent, unknown - I am the alone one.