Monday, September 24, 2012

Who Did You Think About Today?

Who are you thinking about? A friend? A family member? A crush? A spouse? A stranger you met on the street? A party? A person you haven't seen in months? Years? Perhaps someone who hurt you? Or someone you hurt?

I have a huge fear. That no one will like me. That no one will talk to me ever again. No one will remember me. I always wonder if someone is thinking about me this moment. Or at the very least, if someone thought about me once by the time I'm in bed. Staring towards the white wall, but really, staring at complete darkness. The kind of darkness where it makes no difference whether your eyes are opened or closed. You can't even tell really.

But then I wonder, who have I thought about today? And it surprises me that I think about a lot of random people every day. Today, I thought about an old man who randomly talked to me on the street. My dog barked at him and he was startled. He told me he was deaf in one ear and blind in one eye. He couldn't tell where sounds were coming from, so my dog made him jump. He would turn around rapidly every time he heard my dog. He said, "A dog bit me on the face one day when I tried to pet him. The owner told me he didn't bite. I got eight stitches." He pointed at his face and stared at me with his good eye, bending down slightly because he was very tall. "So keep your dog away from me," he said. He looked odd to me. But I saw him walk away and that was that. This was five months ago. And here I am thinking about him. So if that man is ever worried about someone not thinking about him, then he shouldn't, because I just thought about him.

I felt terrible when a girl I had a crush on didn't talk to me. Her and I were friends and she talked to me less and less. When one day I told her, "Why don't you talk to me anymore?" And my heart sank when she told me, "I don't know, people change." We began texting one day and soon, she didn't reply to my last message. Random thoughts came in uninvited. That's how I am. I played in my head different scenarios of why maybe she didn't reply. I felt like a mystery fiction writer. The writer of Sherlock Holmes. Thinking about it now, I'm ashamed to even mention it. But at the moment, it always feels like a good idea. And being the distraught, weak person that I was, I texted her again. I thought I was being forgotten. I thought she didn't care enough to even say bye. The dark wall came back that night.

A good friend I had when I was a child moved away to Arkansas about ten years ago. I still think about the things we did together. Especially the time he punched me and left a huge bump on my forehead. But I wonder if he ever thinks about them as well. I can't even remember his last name. I think about many people every day, I just wish the thoughts were reciprocated. 

But if someone as random as the old man with the stitches on his face can get people to think about him months later, then maybe we're all being thought about. By someone. Maybe the least we'd expect. I think about people I never even talked to. People who probably have no idea I exist. I always think, maybe I'm the only one who does this, but that can't be true.

It's nice to be remembered. Whoever you're thinking about right now, say hello to them if you can. You never know what new beginnings sprout from the seed of a hello. And once you do, they'll remember you as well. They'll remember you because you were the mirror who reflected their face into your thoughts. Even though time tried to dull and scratch the mirror. But a real friend's connection is like Windex. 

They'll remember you when you're down on your luck and sitting in an alley with alcohol in a brown bag, deep in the darkest alley.

Then maybe, the mirror will be as shiny as a gem that brightens up the whole room. Even as you sleep and stare into the darkness. 

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