You can see right through most people. But this woman was opaque. Not literally opaque, of course, but opaque still the same.
The man in the corner is a writer. I don’t know that for sure, but he is always staring pensively at his propped up iPad, tapping here and there as if to edit some massive tome he’s been working on for years.
The woman to the side is frantically scrolling through her smartphone, deep in “conversation” with one or more of her distant friends.
A gentleman of uncertain age racks his brain over a newspaper crossword puzzle, his demeanor that of a long-retired Navy man passing the time of day. A parade of admirers stops to pay their respects as he holds court in succession. Invariably, the puzzle is never finished.
All reveal themselves in their actions, movements, expressions…windows into their worlds.
But not her.
She stood unmoving. Not simply motionless, but seemingly immobile. No expression, no impatience, no sadness, no joy, no apparent connection to the outside world. What was running through her mind? Was she contemplating a family tragedy, an upcoming exam, cheating on her husband? Was she in deep thought about the state of the world or her existence, or potential non-existence, in it? Perhaps she was autistic, a savant whose world extended no further than her own skin? Or weighted down with the terrors of tragedy? Or maybe, just maybe, she was writing the next “Great American Novel!” in her head?
Most people are transparent. You can read them like a book. They give off clues to their general well-being, their attitude toward life, their loves and loathes. Windows into their inner beings.
This woman’s window was opague.
David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His next book, Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, is due out late July 2017.