I always loved observing strangers. I thought about what they were going through. Their expressions, the body language, the way they ran their fingers through their hair… I loved to read them. Their faces mirrored their hearts. And my eyes feasted on their thoughts.
So every Friday, I scheduled a date with myself. And I observed them all. The grumpy young men, the beautiful old ladies, the snarky entrepreneurs and the confused netizens. One thing was common among them all, they often looked back at me like I was some creep, staring unblinkingly in their direction.
The faces repeated sometimes, but that didn’t stop me from doing what I did best. I ordered the same old Avocado on Toast, biting into the fresh bread smeared with the mouthwatering treat.
But then I noticed someone’s eyes on me. It was an old man with steel eyes. I decided to make him my subject today. But his stare was unflinching. For the first time, I stole away from the restaurant, wondering what unsettled me so much about that man.
The next day, he was there again. The whole space had dissolved into nothingness. And all I could feel was a pair of sharp eyes, piercing into my mind. I couldn’t take it any more. So I gathered the courage and walked right at him.
“What is your problem?”
“None at all, son.”
“Then why do you look at me like that?”
“Honestly, my eyes were just on that avocado toast. I’m gonna get myself one of those. Besides that, I must tell you, I knew your father. He owned a villa in Pakistan, before the partition. The funny part is, he grew avocados there.”
I looked at him. Absolutely zapped. “He passed away soon after I was born.” I mumbled.
As I stood there in disbelief, I saw him give me a soft smile and I just walked away, not knowing what to say to that man. But as I passed I heard him whisper to the person sitting across from him, “phew! Didn’t expect him to walk right at us. But hey, didn’t I say he seemed like someone who had childhood problems? I think I’m getting better at reading those faces. What do you think of that lady in white sitting by the window?”
I never went back to that restaurant. As for the avocado on toast — I order a takeaway every Friday since then.