the secrets of strangers (whispered in our ears)


We found a journal today.

It was sitting there on the table, alone. It belonged to no one -- there were no bags or papers or a pen or laptop sitting near it, the signs of someone claiming a temporary space. The journal simply sat there, a mystery wrapped in paper, waiting for someone to come along and notice it.

And I don’t think many did, as it sat on that table as the coolness of early morning turned into the hours of late breakfasts and confusion between greetings; a good morning or good afternoon that has no clear-cut line except the matched hands on an analog clock. There was a bit of hesitancy in the grabbing, in the touching, but as soon as the cover was opened, you couldn’t help but hear those secrets of strangers whispering in your ears. 

One spoke of a love gained and lost, of a year of trials that helped her to grow. She used markers in different colors and gave the paper her soul to borrow, if only for a little while. I felt like a voyeur, someone looking over her shoulder, and hated that there as no way for me to hug her.

Or the boy who wrote of ties bought for him by his mother, a square cut from each and stapled into the journal.

The one who travels the same route every day.

Or the creative layering of a drawing down to the abstract piece at the end.

I felt like I’d stumbled across something magical. I shared my story, my art, and handed it off to someone else to add to. And so on, and so on, until we’re all strangers who are not strangers if only between the covers of a sketchbook, mostly ignored, yet seen by those who most needed it.