The walker was walking. The walker was walking to a bike shop to get a bike fixed to hopefully become the biker. The walker was walking alone. People would point out that fact, that the walker was alone, when the walker would tell them the story later.
The driver was driving. The walker didn’t know where the driver was driving and the driver didn’t know where the walker was walking. But that didn’t stop the driver from also talking. More like shouting.
The driver slowed down driving. The driver rolled down the window and waved at the walker. The driver was also a shouter and shouted something at the walker, laughed, and drove away.
The walker stopped walking.
The walker became the stander, standing on the side of the road, unable to move. The stander’s mouth gaped open, quivering and continuing to move when the stander did not.
The stander started to move again and became the looker, head turning side to side, looking for someone, anyone. Anyone who had seen. Anyone who had heard. Anyone who cared.
After the unreal quiet in the looker’s ears passed, a horn honking jolted the looker into the walker once more.
The walker walked with arms crossed over chest, back hunched. The walker’s eyes were glued to the pavement, watching feet come in and out of sight. Counting cracks and making happy pictures out of the dirt and gum on the sidewalk.
Every driver that drove past, every single fellow walker that walked past, the walker stared at the ground with an intensity that could’ve melted it and wondered what was in their heads. Was the walker in their heads? Could they be shouters?
Finally, the walker made it to the musty smell, clanking noises and dusty dark room of the bike shop. The walker was off the street, away from drivers, away from eyes, yet with every bang and every whisper and every shout, the walker became the jumper.
The walker told two bikers in the shop.
“You were walking in a sketchy part of town, what did you expect?” One said.
“You were walking alone, what did you expect?” The other said.
The walker’s eyes returned to the familiar, comforting, plain concrete. The walker’s arms returned to the familiar, comforting crossed position.
The walker was truly the walker, hardly talking the rest of the day. With the ground and arms as the walker’s two best friends, one to hold a gaze and one to hold a body, the walker walked silently, in a personal daze, a walking bubble.
The walker became a very acute listener, straining to hear the words of drivers and other walkers, fearing what could be heard.
What could be felt.
The walker became a very meticulous dresser, covering body parts with a scrutinizing eye that found every inch of skin exposed. The walker then added another layer, fearing what could be said. How they could make the walker feel.
Not a person.
A piece of meat.
The walker had become a thing.
Elizabeth Eaton has written both internationally in Costa Rica and gastronomically for Edible Baja Arizona, a local food magazine. She dreams of someday being paid to travel the world and eat expensive food, but in the meantime, she spends all her money on food she can’t afford. Oh, and on all the champagne too, because let’s be real, every day should be a celebration.
Photo Credit: Abigail Odom