Thoughts float. It’s never that no one is not thinking, but I am always thinking a thousand things at a time. My thoughts wander farther than an Albatross’s flight without landing. Before people start speaking, I make up their present and future in my head. I miss out on people’s names. Because when they’re introducing themselves, I am thinking about what they’re going to say next, even though I remember their first impressions, because that’s what they made me feel for the first time and first times are important. For instance, do you remember the first time someone texted you and you clicked right away even though you had never known them before—like trying on a long-sleeved sweater for the first time in the trial room and feeling like that wool was especially knit out for you. One of my closest friends and I had our first encounter via text. It wasn’t a coincidence because we knew we were going to the same college—which is precisely why we texted each other in the first place—but we didn’t know our fate would be so intertwined. We were set up like friends try to set you up on a date with their friends—except that it was my father and her uncle who set us up. Two young girls from the same city were going to college all on their own to another city with no prior experience of living alone—you were bound to need good company. And so contact numbers were exchanged. We were expected to like each other, although there was no pressure. But by the end of six weeks when met each other on the college campus, we recognized each other amongst hundreds of kids like we had known each other since forever—and no there had not been any exchange of pictures before; I didn’t have a Facebook account.
So when I’m looking at you, I am trying to listen to you and nod at appropriate times but I am also thinking about what you’re thinking, other than what you’re saying. Are you looking at my nose that I don’t like, or my eyes that are trying not to blink, or my mouth that constantly keeps moving for the lack of doing anything else, or just generally looking at my overall face, which rarely happens for people? (If I am not thinking about these things, then I have probably a close relation with you). I’m also thinking about what you will say next, because you will find me completing your sentences for you. But if that happens, that would only mean two things—either you’re older and I respect you, or you’re someone new that I’m trying to be really polite with. But I often wonder about what people think when they’re looking at other people and talking, because sometimes talking can be very distracting. Other times, people are just like me.
There was a time when I tried to look at people’s feet while they talked because I had read somewhere that that the direction of your toes meant that your interest lied there. So if you talked to my friend but your toes faced me, you were not interested in her. But my experience told me that was not true. People’s toes face the direction of where they have to go next, not necessarily where they want to go next; their direction also changes with their movement, there is no hidden meaning.
My thoughts when I look at people also think about their privilege or lack thereof. Of whether the haircut they had, was allowed by their parents or if they are the master of their own little decisions. If the Hilux Revo they drive is the fruit of their own earning or if it was transferred to them by their dad by virtue of his wealth.
My thoughts wander about a million things when I talk to you. I try to remain coherent but there are inner monologues that I’m always trying to respond to—nothing to do with you, just my own head trying to remember a sad song from four years ago whose lyrics I can’t remember, along with nine hundred ninety nine thousand nine hundred ninety nine other things.