Sitting down, I look down the tunnel of waving seats.
This is the best part. Don’t make eye contact. Just watch. Discreetly observe faces and what they’re doing.
Are they reading a book? What are they reading? Is anyone wearing an unusual coloured scarf? Hat? Boots are usually really good. Shoes are interesting.
Any unusual attire will usually snag my attention. And hold it.
Next – I describe them. In my mind, of course.
I sit and watch and describe. Describe them in the most poetic words I can summon. This part is a puzzle. I construct a sentence and try fitting multiple competing words in the same spot.
Usually I find it best to focus on any one person. One attribute.
A clenched fist runs down the sloping hill of blue-gray pants. His thumb taps against his fist. Absent-mindedly. He is talking to a friend sitting next to him.
There is a cup of coffee in his hand and he holds it without sipping. He talks with a smile. It’s beautiful. He holds up his cup at chest level and pauses; listening.
He laugh-talks and his expressions meld so simply, smoothly to his words. His words, soundless but I can hear his free hand speaking. He splays out his five fingers while he opens his eyes wider. He laughs. He pushes his hair away from his forehead and clutches a fistful for a millisecond.
It is the talk-smile that has caught my eye. A muscle sharply outlined down his neck. He raises his eyebrows, baring his teeth comically and looks away from his friend. He looks down at his coffee; he plays with the tab at the sip hole like I always do.
His friend talks and he looks up straight. He looks at me: looking at him. It is a quick look; a moment that slows down and passes quickly. Both, at the same time.
It passes because he looks away. It passes because I get up to leave and he doesn’t. It passes because the second moves onto the next second. It passes because the second is now gone forever.