Everyday as I travel to school, an endless stream of unfamiliar faces pass me by. Sometimes, it gets too close for comfort, having those strangers pressed so tightly against me as they try to squeeze into a train cabin that is packed to maximum capacity. Their sombre expressions often leave me fervently wishing I were somewhere else. A smile would be nice. But this is the cold, harsh reality of city life - almost everyone seems to caught up in the rat race to bother about each other, even though it wouldn't kill them to mouth a hello. Sometimes, our eyes will meet, and we'll coolly appraise each other. Then the staring gets uncomfortable, and we quickly avert our gazes, turning away and retreating into back into our own private world. They fiddle with their smartphones and plug their earphones in- whatever it takes to make them look preoccupied. Maybe it's their self-defense mechanism or security blanket.. I don't know.
These people come and go. I could be trying to memorize a person's features, noticing that she wears a pair of blue earrings, that she has a tiny mole above her left eyebrow. Before I know it, the train doors open and she's swept up in the crowd which is frantically trying to jostle their way out. And it's as if I have amnesia or something, so quickly does my brain dismiss her features. She becomes faceless once more, just like any other stranger I encounter.
The train station is a fascinating place, once you learn to look past the faces of these people, and see what lies beneath. Every single one of them has a story to tell, be it sad, funny, captivating, scandalous or plain silly.
They could be broken inside. They could have loved and lost someone. They could be empty inside, lost, purposeless, without a faith to anchor them down. They could be struggling to cope with so much hurt, that it'd take months, years maybe, to fix them. They could be weary of life, too drained to even trudge to work. They could be brimming with secret hopes and seemingly impossible dreams, like being a world renowned pastry chef, an astronaut at NASCAR, or an award winning playwright. They could be a child at heart, longing for just the simple pleasures of life like blowing bubbles and sitting on the swings. They could be your soulmate, the person you've been searching for your entire life, and they're just there, right in front of you. They could be cheating on their spouses back home. They could be scared, self-conscious and painfully awkward. They could be amazing, beautiful people on the inside and out. They could be thinkers. They could be jaded and cynical, refusing to believe in a thing like hope. They could be at war within themselves.They could be unspeakably lonely. They could be blissfully happy without a care in the world.
They could be you and me. Because deep down, we're all the same.
What kind of person are you?