He stood there, staring out the window. If you’d walked into the café you probably wouldn’t have noticed him. He was about 5’6” and all edges and angles. Even the tops of his shoulders were pointy, not to mention his nose, ears, and fingers. His chin was likely just as pointy though it was completely obscured by a beard. A long, bushy beard that was so untended it had its own halo of wispy hairs. Beard oil was lost on his generation, or at least on him. He had long, thin hair growing down in an even part from the top of his head. It was dark brown when it left his scalp, though most of it had been bleached a much lighter color due to all the time he spent outside. His hair clearly got about as much attention as his beard and was 3 times as long. If you’d noticed him, which you wouldn’t have, the image of White Jesus would spring to mind no matter how hard you tried to see otherwise.
His squinty eyes were set just a bit too close together which added to his sharp and dismissible look. They were a dull brown, resembling the butt piece of whole wheat bread that you let go stale instead of toasting up. His eyebrows were as thick as his eyelashes were sparse, so if you had looked him in the eye, which you wouldn’t have wanted to do, you would have been confronted with the sensation of his eyes filling up most of the top of his head.
Today, he was wearing a fitted button-down shirt with a small red plaid and matching red jeans that sagged down from his pointy hip protrusions. The belt he wore, a bright blue faux leather one with a large oval buckle, did its job of keeping his pants from falling down completely since his ass wasn’t up to that challenge. The heavy-handed matching of his shirt and pants was as intentional as his sock and shoe choices – orange argyle socks slipped into dress shoes made up of distressed black leather. Over this ensemble, he wore a slouchy beige cardigan that was a full size too large which heightened the coat-hanger look of his physique.
His MacBook air, covered with bumper stickers and magazine cut-outs that “summed him up better than he could”, was in his satchel which he wore over his right shoulder and left hip. And his journal – the leather-bound notebook with archival quality paper – was in his hands, as was his charcoal pencil, waiting for the perfect subject to present itself through the window. It was empty, since that perfect subject never seemed to materialize. He was there, standing at the window, cloaked in invisibility only afforded to the truly mediocre, every day. Every single day.
When the café had first opened it only served on Tuesdays through Saturdays. He started standing on their first day. When they expanded their hours, so did he. He would move from his window post 3 times a day to order and use the facilities. You could have set your watch by him if you’d noticed him, which you wouldn’t. The staff noticed him, of course, to a point. They interacted with him when he approached the counter, and they noticed when he came out of the bathroom to collect his drink. Once he got back to his station at the window he seemed to leave their notice.
He arrived 5 minutes after opening and left 10 minutes before closing. The notebook was the tell – he took it out after ordering and put it away before leaving. The notebook and the pencil. They stayed in his hands whenever a drink wasn’t there. He kept his attention focused outside while his body stayed inside. He was waiting, and waiting was what he did.
It takes extreme resolve to be that patient – to wait, day after day, in complete silence, standing, staring. If he’d been of any note at all, he would have been lauded for his patience. Or he’d have been locked up, presumed to be insane. His mediocre invisibility kept him safe and made it possible for him to complete his task – his long, long task of waiting to capture that perfect image. For him, in his time and in this place, the waiting was worth it. Because the image was worth it. Or it would be, when it came.
**All 30-minute musing posts are fiction**