Afternoon. Hot and sunny. Non a/c bus with occasional light breezes blowing through the wide opened windows. The bus came to a halt at a crosswalk. Hordes of people rushing left and right. I could almost hear their thoughts. Or at least I imagined them.
'Gosh! What the heck is that woman wearing?'
'When is the day going to end?'
'I smell MacDonalds...gotta get some big mac. I'm starving..."
'God, please let me win the lottery tonight!'
blah rah hah.
Amidst all that hustling, I noticed her. Perhaps in her middle 20s, she was standing right by the curb and under the traffic lights. It seemed she was about to cross but she stopped in her tracks for as long as the bus ceased motion.
One of her sleeves subtly fell off her shoulders as she smiled and simply gazed. I attempted following that stare but only saw more busy pedestrians crossing the road like busy little ants. I tried to listen or imagined her thoughts like I so often do when I observe passing strangers.
Strangely, nothing came to mind and I only found myself wondering what was going through her mind. Was it a meadow with funny weird polka dotted bunnies hopping about? Or a mad and chaotic nightmarish dungeon in her head and she was merely smiling because she had long forgotten all her other emotions?
Whatever it was, I wanted desperately for a few seconds to be in her shoes and experience the simple joy of smiling which for most times I forget can exist.
I created this illustration many many years later. The entire scenario kept playing in my mind like a looping video clip and every now and then I find myself still wondering what she might have been thinking.