Have you ever noticed how, when your life starts to develop a routine, you begin to see the same people over and over around you? Other people whose routines intersect with yours? You might get to know some of them, but for so many of us those people remain familiar strangers. Ordinary people just like us.
Take the bus, for instance. That man sitting ahead of me. I've seen him on here before. Seen him huddle in his coat, head down. So often he carries groceries with him.
Or the woman on the other side of the aisle. I can't help but want to call her a "girl" rather than a woman, but she is probably older than she seems to me. So often with her nose in a textbook or set of photocopies, pencil out. Highlighter adorns the pages. I have never seen what they contain.
Then there is the elevator. The same people going to different floors, seen time and again. One of those places where public etiquette says politely ignoring those people around you is the best way to maintain a shield of privacy, pretend that you are not squished together like sardines.
The older lady to my left always smells like perfume, and cheap perfume at that. Her hair is perfectly done, and she is always dressed nicely in a matronly way that is definitely out of fashion. Occasionally she even smiles as I step into the elevator.
The man behind me is a smoker, not that I have ever seen him smoke. His tie is usually crooked, just a bit, and he looks like his clothes should be more unkempt than they are. His suits are always in perfect repair, at least at the beginning of the day, shirts clean and ironed, hair combed. Except last week when I saw him come in a grey suit, brownish shirt and blue tie. Still nice clothes, but not a combination that should ever go together.
And me? Well, I am just as ordinary as the rest of them. I have my own things that set me apart, my private talents and unique story. But as far as they know, none of that matters.
At least it didn't until today. Today I wear a flower tucked into my hair. I chose a red sweater, so unlike the more muted colours I have always worn before. Today I clutch my bag just a little more tightly, and I smile at all of them.
Today is the day when I am done being ordinary.
Today is the day when my story becomes much more interesting.