It’s the fifth day in a row now that you’ve walked right past me and not met my gaze or acknowledged my existence. The fourth day in a row, but how many in total? Dozens? Hundreds? At least hundreds, I’d wager. At least.
A thousand people walk past me everyday. Most don’t see me, and that’s fine. I’ve come to accept it, that it is human nature not to observe the things around you. A person could go mad stopping to take in every detail of their surroundings as they try and go about their lives. Some are too invested in themselves to notice anything around them, and that’s fine, too. One might as well curse a dog for barking as get upset with those kinds of people. Some of stop and drop a few coins, some dollar bills in front of me. A few even stop to talk to me for a moment, and for that I am more grateful than words can express.
You see me. I know you do. Over the long years, I’ve gotten very good at reading the human face. I notice the subtle tics and cues through which people reveal themselves. I see your eyes, darting towards me for just a second, the atavistic holdover of a creature that was once prey. Your eyes dart towards the threat, notes it, resolves to play dumb, and you walk forward.
It wounds me. It wounds me that you see me and do not acknowledge me. That you are not unobservant, or self-obsessed, but something else altogether. It disgusts me that you are some low, frightened creature stumbling through life gripped by the fear that someone might try and engage with you, interact with you.
You disgust me. And I have decided to do something about it. I will look at you calmly as I always do, and I will watch to see if your eyes do their dance again, darting from my face to some distant spot ahead of you and locking there. I will watch to see if those beads of nervous sweat start to form at your temples and drip down your face. I will watch to see if you fumble through your pocket and pretend that your phone is demanding attention. And if you do, if you continue to wound and disgust me, I will take action.
On the sixth day, I will not be ignored.