To look at someone when they are not paying attention is truly seeing someone.
The face that’s wrapped up in its own world of thoughts, anxieties, hopes, and dreams. The face that is not painting its expression on to please the onlooker, it is just simply at rest. No fake smiles or fake laughs, no self-conscious lip biting or hair adjusting.
To look at someone when they are not paying attention is to see the real them. Not the one they play up on for you in hopes of appearing more attractive, the character they’ve perfected to draw people in. You’re seeing the person off guard, off duty, behind the scenes. You’re catching a glimpse of the magic, the rawness, the reality of a person who is caught just simply being themselves.
To look at someone when they are not paying attention is to see versions of them you may have previously overlooked. It’s to see the unedited bloopers, the scenes that didn’t quite make it to the final production.
It’s like watching a movie for a second time, but this time you notice details you missed the first time. You notice the furrowing of their brows when they’re perplexed, you notice they can’t keep their fingers from tapping on a table, you notice they look longingly up at the ceiling and you wonder what the inside of their mind looks like in those moments.
To look at someone when they are not paying attention is truly paying attention. It’s easy to listen to someone talk to you or to a group of people and appreciate the show they are putting on, but it’s a whole other, beautiful kind of appreciation to witness the “dance like nobody is watching” moments a person offers when they are simply not trying to please their viewers.
To look at someone when they are not paying attention is when they are most beautiful because they are being their own unedited truth.
To fall in love with another, we must first learn to love them when they are not paying attention.