Pardon the Way that I Stare

September 19, 2015 | By | 2 Comments

staring_smiley____by_shengdaflashproAs I got out of my car to get some milk this evening, I couldn’t help but notice the guy sitting in the car parked next to mine. He was staring at me. Why? I don’t know.

The last time somebody stared at me was about a week ago. It was an African American girl sitting with her mother. We were on the train. I think she was about a year and a half old. Possibly younger. Somehow, I caught her attention. Whatever her age, she was young enough to not feel the least bit self-conscious about fixing her gaze on me the entire trip. Since she was so obviously staring at me, I plainly stared right back at her. She gave me a searching look. As she tried to figure me out, I tried to figure her out. What was she curious about? What caught her attention? What was it about me that so entertaining?

I wonder what will happen to that little girl. Perhaps she will become a famous author or athlete or musician. Maybe she will own a restaurant like Princess Tiana. Maybe she will one day become the President of the United States. Yes, maybe the future President engaged me in a stare-down on a train in Boston.

* * *

I remember being a little boy in the first grade. At the time I attended a private school, which offered education up to the sixth grade.

I remember staring at the older kids. They were so big. I wondered if I would become big like that one day. The idea of getting big seemed a million years away – like it would never happen.

Another thing I found curious was the older girls. One in particular caught my eye. I was fascinated. I hadn’t seen anything so pretty.

One day, I was excused from class in order to use the bathroom. As I walked the halls, I noticed a classroom full of older kids. I put my face against the transparent square glass panel and peered in. It just so happened to be the classroom that the pretty girl was sitting in.

Needless to say, I was awestruck. I must’ve been staring at the pretty girl for some time, because I clearly caught her attention. This took me by complete surprise, as I was certain that I was invisible to the upperclassmen and especially the pretty girl. What did they care about a little kid?

The reason I know with certainty that I caught this girl’s attention is that she looked me right in the eye. Then, she scrunched up her face and stuck out her tongue right at me.

I was elated. I was not invisible after all. The pretty girl knew that I existed.

* * *

Perhaps I should have referred to that pretty girl by her name. I can’t do that because I don’t remember what it was. I do, however, have one other memory of her, a few years later.

We had just got out of church on a Sunday afternoon. Rather than the usual ham salad sandwiches in the parking lot of Alexander’s Supermarket, we were treated to D’Anegelos. I can’t express how much I loved D’Angelos. The diced pickles. The turkey smothered in mayo. The bread. The oil on top. I was in heaven.

It just so happened that the pretty girl was working at the store. My parents recognized her. They said hello. She spoke with them for a little bit. Unlike our previous encounter with the face and tongue, she was shy. It was likely the first job she had ever held. I think she was nervous.

I don’t recall ever saying a word to this girl. I just listened as she spoke with my parents. The conversation wasn’t long, but long enough for her to once again recognize my presence on earth.

I couldn’t help but stare at her again. This time, I also gave her a hint of a smile.

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Category: Musings

Comments (2)

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  1. Denise says:

    Its midnight & I couldnt sleep. My sweet husband is snoring beside me. I came across your blogsite when I was looking up Rich Mullins (i am looking forward to meeting him in heaven). Anyway, the more I read, especially your Ramblings, I just couldn’t tear myself away from your writing…I’m laughing and thinking, “Is this guy brilliant, crazy, or both!?

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    • Mark says:

      Wow! So nice of you Denise! I just assumed this was another spam comment. I was totally surprised when I realized it was a real person writing a message. I really appreciate you checking out my site and leaving such kind words. God’s blessing to you too!

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