EVERY WHICH WAY there are faces.
Black, white, brown, yellow, red, pink skin. Giant, small, lopsided, almond-shaped eyes. Broken hearts, swelling pride, fragmented dreams, wondering what happened to fuel them this far.
A billion stories reside within the souls of these people, and the depths of discovery here have no limit. There must be millions on these busy streets, in the swelling metropolis of New York City, as the hubbub of car horns blasts from the roads. But I don’t want to be anywhere else, even as their body heat turns my cheeks ruddy and a woman falls over me.
It is chaos: A sweet, simple, human chaos. A chaos I don’t pay attention to often, a deep dream that is blurred by my career, my family, the city itself. Usually I am a thoughtless wanderer, off to work, off to the routine. But for a strange reason, today, I watch those around me.
A girl on her father’s shoulders stares out in the sea of bodies asking for cotton candy.
Businessmen and women chirp into phones, sipping on warm coffees, pupils aglow with the thought of greenbacks.
A hipster dances past, headphones deep in his ears.
A young teenager attempts to read a novel without bumping into anyone else. Good luck, kid. I wish I had that skill.
A few paces ahead, the dark red hair of a woman catches my eye–that luminosity, the shine, a color that stands out anywhere.
But it’s when my mind captures individual faces, I am astounded by the complexity of our world, and how this is where I am meant to be at this exact moment. For a reason. My heart swells inside me like a rushing tide ready to break free onto warm sand. Humanity is unimaginable, incomprehensible, and I am a witness to the individual facets of this species.
And then I see him.
Up ahead, a tall man glides down the road, a peculiar hat perched on his head despite the cloudy day, the perfect weather. He glances back, sweat trickling down his cheeks like dripping candle wax. My eyes unfalteringly set on him. He blends into the crowd. His head bobs over the regulars and the tourists, but there is nothing special about him. Normal features, normal attire, normal everything, really. Could be a banker or a teacher, who knows. He tugs on his hat a few times, pulling it closer to his crown. Maybe he’s a murderer, I decide in the loneliness of my skull; maybe he’s an angel. He glances back around him, avoiding stubborn souls sweeping down the sidewalk.
Somehow–and for whatever reason–he locks eyes with me. As my gaze focuses in on his warm amber irises, it happens like magic: He is gone, a departed ghost. A mysterious flash, within the blink of an eye.
I stop in my tracks. A man barrels over me, and then like the parting of the Red Sea, people swim around me down the street. But I pay no attention. I look down the way to the spot where I saw this man disappear, and a squirmy ache in my heart sickens me. What did I witness? He was gone in a literal flash, like the sudden disappearance of the sun on a perfect day.
With careful examination of the crowd, I see nothing. Even if he didn’t disappear or I simply blinked and he was gone, I would never be able to find him, not with the hordes of people pushing past me now. They pass me by, their arms grazing my flesh, and I realize how lonely inside I am, how crazy I must be. People don’t disappear into the clouds. With a thumping heartbeat, I look up into the sky, as if this is a plausible way the man left the streets. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t.
Tiny teardrops of water hit my nose. Did anyone else notice?
Oh, my beautiful readers! This post is one of the weirdest I’ve done in a while, and that’s because of the story around it.
As some of you guys know, I’m working on a novel right now called Church Boy. It’s a 55,000 word Christian romance novel that I’m hoping to publish soon. And somehow as I was editing this book late at night on August 5, I stumbled upon my Submittable account. What is Submittable, and why does it matter?
Submittable is a way for writers to query multiple agents at once. It’s an easy tool to use, and somehow I fumbled upon my account and saw my previous works I’ve sent off to agents in the past few years. And “Catch the Wind” was one of them.
According to this entry date, I submitted this short story to a magazine in February 2015. (Over four years ago, what in the world?). Now what’s really wild is that I have no trace of this short story on my new computer, and I don’t remember writing it. That being said, I know this short story is important, because as I read it, I thought to myself: Why not put this on the blog?
“Catch the Wind” is a short story that made me stop in my tracks, now that I’m reading it four years later, because it convicted me. It made me think that I pass so many people on a daily basis, and I ignore them. It isn’t humanly possible to recognize every single person on the face of the earth, but I do think we have a responsibility to put our energy into the people who come into our lives unexpectedly.
In 2019 it is easy to hide behind a screen, especially in public places. We’re selfish people, and we tend to find momentary happiness in stroking our own egos, but I believe there is long-standing joy in strengthening our relationships with others. This can happen through budding friendships, waving at strangers, and casual conversation with an old friend.
What I mean is that we have a limited amount of time on this planet, and we need to make the most of it. When we see that someone’s hurting, we need to help him or her. When our intuition goes off and implores us to help another, we should follow this sense.
This life is much more about we can individually do. It’s about coming together, as corny as that may sound.
Because what if, going back to my story, we are the man who disappears into thin air? What happens then?
Okay, enough ramblings from me now. I just thought this story would be a perfect Friday morning blog post, and I hope you enjoy this little guy from a seventeen-year-old Katie Kay.
More on Monday!