The space you once coloured with wonder.

The mundane so often reveals itself to be a quiet form of the profound. Like yesterday. Sitting watching a simple scene – a disjointed gathering of strangers at a café. It was as if I could see it all being played out unwittingly before me.

In one corner, a group of girls – young women in their early twenties – so full of easy confidence, so loud with the certainties of youth, so utterly assured of their attractiveness.

Two tables away, an Asian couple in their thirties with their adorable cherub in her stroller. The way the man doted on his girls. How the mother glowed when she stroked the child’s beautiful black locks.

Next to them – another couple. Older. Silent. Both prodding away at their phones, barely giving a flicker of notice to the waitress delivering their lattes. A tiredness it seemed – a routine resignation to a less than perfect but still comfortable arrangement. The fear of not having it.

And then – landing on the table next to me – the silver grey man who made the whole scene burn. A taut, unrelaxed frame. Drab utilitarian clothes; doubtless the same non-style he’s known for decades. But his face. His gaze. At the distance of despair. In the certainty of loneliness. Knowing that the table of young girls had not even registered his existence – and would not. Ever.

Of course, you know that this is why I’m writing. He was the mirror. A window abruptly opened on an emptiness I try not to ponder too often. The space you once coloured with wonder.

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