I like to look at people, listen to them talk, and observe their interactions with other people. Then my imagination kicks in and I develop a storyboard of their life.
Justin and I will go to the mall, not to shop, but to people watch. We find a busy spot in the mall with an empty bench and grab a cup of coffee. We sit in silence, observing all the types of people traveling through the frantic mall. Young people, old people, middle-aged people, infants; they all have a story. I like to predict it.
A young couple sat in front of us on New Years Day. Just leaned over and said, "They haven't been together that long."
I smiled. The girl had her legs wrapped over his stomach. He was holding her close. They both have wide smiles and were laughing and sharing text messages. He was rubbing her hair and starring into her eyes when she talked. He wasn't look at other girls as they walked by because he had the one he wanted right beside him. I smiled again thinking about that, which is usually how all relationships are in the beginning.
"Oh yeah, I would guess less than six months," I said. "That's when you stopped acting like that."
We laughed. He said something whitty, but I forget now. I was starring at the young couple so happy and in love.
I also let my imingation run and make up stories for people's lives when I'm working at Med One. I could make millions writing stories about what people tell me and the way people act when they are sick and pissed off at the world. But the best is listening to them when they think no one is listening. Or watching them when they think no one is watching.
Despite our efforts to control annoying people who scream on their phone in the lobby, people still disclose personal information and frustations while sitting in a crowded room.
Sometimes its good news, "Little Sally didn't break her arm! Everything is great because the doctor said she can still try out for softball in two weeks!"
Other times its hard to hear, "They are sending dad to the emergency room because they think he is having a heart attack. An ambulance is on the way."
I always try to picture who they are talking to. Perhaps a mother, a father, a son, a daughther, or a friend?
But last night I wasn't prepared for the news an elderly lady told me while signing in. She actually told Jami first and then Jami told me to get her registered and back ASAP. In front of everyone. Why?
Her husband died just four hours ago. What do you even say? Everything is so fresh. For once, I just couldn't imagine what I wanted to. I wanted to change the entire situation. I wanted to write her story differently. But her eyes were red and swollen. And her tears were real. Her story was already written.
"Honey, I'm going to get you registered really fast and get you back there, okay?" I said.
"Thank you," she said with a soft voice. She gave me a faint smile a tear slide down her fragile skin.
It just makes you wonder about life. And people. We can't tell a story just by looking at a face. There is more to know. There is more to see.