I used to think people were glamorous. I used to notice their silver brooches, woolen pea coats, and the tiny moles above their lips. I’d think about what they had for breakfast, how big their bedroom was, and what they might smell like after they step out of the shower. It was silly, really. Thinking about people. About their habits and their hobbies, what they loved and where they lived. It didn’t really matter, and it took me a long time to realize that a lot of people don’t celebrate Christmas or sleep in bedrooms. A lot of people don’t even bathe.
For a long time I thought it was the writer in me, I thought people fascinated me because I was searching for a story. Or maybe it was because I wanted to find the good ones. I wanted to find the people I could relate to. The ones who wore pretty things and smelled like aftershave and lilacs. The ones that traveled and kissed postcards with red lipstick to send to their families back home. The ones that liked to write, or read, or always had something intelligent to say, something important, something I could learn from.
Sometimes I looked at people simply because I liked their haircut, and I wanted to do mine like that. Or maybe a girl was daring and wore an outfit I’d only dream of putting on. I’d admire her. I’d find her glamorous.
Slowly, their glamour started to fade. Their sparkle wore away. They started to look like smudged makeup. Everyone blended together. I saw people everywhere. In the grocery store, pushing carts and fiddling with receipts. At the gas station, quieting crying babies, putting on gloves, starting their cars, again and again. I saw them at my job, and helped them one by one. No one said thank you. No one smiled. Their brooches weren’t shiny anymore, and their coats had grown old. Even the writer in me had a hard time uncovering a story. Everything had become gray, tainted by the business of life. Days went by, and people moved. They pushed carts, and spent money, and took showers and got dressed. They grew bored. Got married and had babies. Did what was expected of them. They stopped being any kind of glamorous. They became what they always were. People.
I became one too. I stopped writing because the stories stopped coming because the people stopped being. I ate breakfast, took walks, talked on the phone. Checked Facebook like it was my religion. Did all of the things everyone always did. No one was interesting because everyone was the same.
Then I met you.
You looked just like everyone else. You went to the gym and watched movies and wore glasses. You were happy. You were nice. You were fascinating. You showed me that sincerity and kindness were real, and it made me realize that glamour only went so far. That people were only people until you knew them. Those brooches and pea coats and tiny moles didn’t really matter, and neither did their Christmas mornings, or their travels to faraway countries, or their attitudes. You could admire them. Admire who they were and what they did. Admire their haircuts and outfits, and which designers name was slapped on their purse. But it didn’t mean anything. No one meant anything to anyone until somebody wanted them to.
You meant something to me, and I meant something to you. You were no longer random. And someday, when I see you pumping gas or sitting on a bench or pushing a cart in the grocery store, you’ll be someone to me. While everyone else, the people that I don’t know, the ones with the pea coats and the brooches, they’ll be standing beside you, blending in, turning gray. Maybe one day they’ll burst with color like you did. We’ll meet and become something. And for just a second, they might even become glamorous.
But until then, I’ll notice the passersby, and I’ll write my stories, and I’ll try to find someone like you.