I listen to conversations everywhere I go. I eavesdrop shamelessly on all of it: Women talking together about their jobs, children, or spouses; men talking to women about chores and what equipment they will need; children trying to persuade their parents to buy something, go somewhere, or allow something.
I pay attention to their faces. I watch their hand gestures. I close my eyes and let their voices reach me, separating the tone from the words. I open my eyes and watch their faces — the scrunching of their brows; the smoothness of their skin when they smile; the tiny shakes of their heads.
In the quiet of my home, their talk plays back to me. I try to imagine their lives at the other end of the evening, in their homes. I imagine quiet apartments, noisy sprawling houses, pets running through the hallways. The smells of dinner waft through the rooms where the tired parents sit and cuddle babies.
After the Trolley Run Cheer with the WBRC on Sunday, I had three egg sandwiches and a couple of oranges left. I drove down Wornall towards Target, and suddenly saw a homeless man on the sidewalk with his shopping cart filled with clothing, books, shoes, and blankets. I stopped in a parking lot and walked towards him, noticing that he held a little chihuahua and wore dreadlocks. His sun-weathered skin stretched across angular planes. He held the dog in his arms like a baby, wrapped in a cloth. I flicked my eyes across the pile of belongings in the cart as he approached me. I went to an event and have extra sandwiches, I said. Egg and cheese. And oranges. Would you like them?
I held the bag by its handles, offering it to him. He spoke in a soft, lilting voice that seemed unused. Yes, I would. He took them. I paused for a moment, wondering if I should say more. I stood on the sidewalk, thinking, I have just come into his living space, here, in front of this Subway, on a broken square of cement with weeds sprouting from the crack.
I turned and left.
It’s the twenty-sixth day of the twenty-eighth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.