18. The Glance

Glance by photographer Brad Evans


The Glance


She shot her eyes furtively over at Tom in the train aisle as she moved past to step off onto the platform. Then she moved on and it was over.  The train gave a small lurch as it started forward. She had her back to him as she came into his field of vision as the carriage rolled past and then she was gone.


Tom sat back in his seat and thought about the moment. Her getting off her seat and looking around, then seeing him sitting in the aisle, her body tensing as she recognized him. She turned her back and busied herself with her bags and then walked down the aisle her eyes straight ahead looking neither left nor right, her lips pursed slightly a micro expression of how she felt about it. The way she positioned her body on the platform so he couldn’t see her face if he was looking. The signals were strong.


You don’t exist.


I can’t see you so I don’t have to acknowledge you.  


You never made my eye line so it is an accident if I don’t see you.


Tom thought about the incident that got them to this point and then put her out of his mind. How many people have a glance in there lives everyday in a workplace or college. How bad does that make us as people? That we would reject the reality around us rather than face it?


Everyone has a history. Everyone has ghosts that inhabit this world, which we never want to see again.  A painful memory seared into the face of the individual a shared recollection of an incident of some casual cruelty, which we chose to put away and forget.


We are all wounded we are all scarred by some barb which penetrated our emotional armour and left a mark. In her case a small scab to be picked at from time to time.


Tom shook his head and picked up the book he had being reading. He would forget her in an hour and never remember her again unless there was another random meeting. The scars had calloused on this one.