Of all the times that Ive walked through this mall, I must have seen and forgotten a thousand faces.
Today however, one caught my eye. An older man, probably in his late forties early fifties, wearing a winter coat and hat sitting by himself. He was trying to enjoy a frozen yogurt. I know he was enjoying it because he wasnt doing anything else at the time and there was nobody with him. He was simply sitting alone in the food court, trying to enjoy a frozen yogurt.
There wasn't a look of enjoyment on his face though. He just looked...lost in his own thoughts. For all i know, he could be a father waiting for his kids who are preoccupied in a nearby store, or maybe a construction worker just taking a break from a job in the area., but i like to think its not that easy. Its the romantic in me. I want to think that there's something more to everyone i see. Of course i occasionally stay up at night wondering what kind life a specific person led and thinking about how ill never know, as is the case with this particular man.
Some people who have known me long enough may have heard me say that nothing makes me sadder than seeing someone eating alone. Maybe its because growing up i was used to eating being an activity that brought people together, and leads me to feel sorry for anyone i see eating alone. But its different when youre watching tv or doing homework. Its different when you have an occupied look on your face. Youre distracted. Youre not thinking about anything other than what you see.
This man was sitting alone at a table, staring in to the distance, not out of boredom but instead out of a lack purpose, and not eating because he needed to, but instead because he was trying to re kindle some feeling of happiness he looks as though hes forgotten. A happiness which may have escaped him when his kids moved out, or when his wife passed away, or even when he realized that he was never going to see the world through the eyes of a child again. Colours will never be as bright as they used to be, new experiences are now old, worn out chores. I could see it in his eyes, this treat he decided to buy himself wasnt helping. instead it was folding in the wind, like the feeble attempt it was to lift his spirits; to fill a whole so big that even he himself cant understand it.
There is no worse feeling than being sad and not knowing why, and this man didn't know why. As he sat, his memories teased him and he though to himself, "Why do i feel this way? I never felt sad like this before, what happened?" Nothing in his life changed though. Instead, it was the world around him that changed; for the worst. One day he woke up and realized that this wasn't the same world he knew when he was a child. And as this new and scary idea dawned upon him he slowly lost any hope of getting back to his old self and freezes on the spot. He thinks the quiet in the house must be getting to him so he decides to go for a walk. The fresh air does little to replace his anxiety though, he still feels as lost as before. As he comes around the mall he goes inside and see's the frozen yogurt shop. Memories from his childhood come fleeting back. Perhaps he and his father would go out for frozen yogurt every Sunday, or they brought him some when he was in the hospital. something from his past compels him until he says, "i think ill have some. This should cheer me up" As he sits and consumes his snack, however, he comes to the conclusion that the more he tries to enjoy it the less he actually does. Looking around the giant room he sees a young man with a notepad, scribbling away his thoughts. He pays him no mind and continues to get up and walk away. But as he's leaving he begins to think..."Of all the times that Ive walked through this mall, I must have seen and forgotten a thousand faces. Today however, one caught my eye..."