To be still and not afraid. Concentrate really hard on what the other person is doing. Feel the phone through their hands, try and hear the music through their headphones. Don’t miss a beat or a bat of an eyelid. Define each eyelash. When are you allowed to stare? Babies stare widely, soaking up every bit of light bouncing off strangers’ faces, and feel every shout and slam of the door. So sensitive. But they’re not afraid, they have nothing to be afraid of, yet. Not yet. To be still and not afraid. Sat in the underground station at Aldgate East, the dim lights glow and across the platform there is an enclave that holds a bench. On the bench sit two men who do not know each other. I am allowed to stare because the train has not yet arrived and from across a train track the gaze doesn’t feel so intrusive, merely glazed. The two men sit and one handles a mobile phone. The other has his back bent forwards with elbows resting on knees. He is in a broken prayer position. The train shoots past and things bleep and doors slide closed and whoosh the train goes. No men are left on the bench. It looks like an aged photograph and the frame is the shadow cast by the enclave. Two women click clack past the bench, both wearing black tight dresses and holding clutch bags. One of them puts on a playful trot and giggles whilst the other woman laughs, walking behind her in the follow like a newborn foal. They exit the frame and the bench is left empty again, like normal.
(Time has passed and nothing feels real because everything has been observed... Like you weren’t actually there, it was all third-person. But you were completely there and that’s why everything was noted, absorbed and felt. Babies are not blank they are ciphers to another world where the individual does not exist but the whole world around them does. And there is nothing to be afraid of. To be still and not afraid must be wondrous.)