Walking Past

[Pike Place Market]

A tall old man with a friendly face is sitting with six or seven other locals at a diner in Snoqualmie Falls. “Twin Peaks Pie” is listed on the dessert menu, though the diner from Twin Peaks is a few miles down the road in the next town. The man gets up as soon as everyone at the table has finished ordering and loads up a plate at the salad bar. The wrinkles on his face are deep and round, shaped by years of smiling.

A bit of conversation overheard at Elliot Bay Cafe: “She has problems with you because you’ve had affairs.” There are people having these conversations and this is as good a place as many to have them.

A pair of teenagers are hanging around on bicycles at a busy corner downtown. We maneuver around them and head up the sidewalk. Up ahead a young guy in jeans and a t-shirt is turned away from us talking to a chauffer about a square black sedan. They’re about to leave or they’ve just arrived. The kids with the bikes call out to the guy at the car, “Hey, man. Over here!” The conversation at the car is ending and the young guy says, “I’ll just be a second.” I catch a glimpse of his face for just a moment when he turns around to shake the kids’ hands. I recognize the face in the way you’d recognize someone who you’ve see around a lot but who you don’t know. My brain idly tries to match his face with a place. Does he live in my neighborhood? Is he a barista at Vivace? No, wait. He was Tommy on Third Rock From the Sun.

A woman keeps walking by the restaurant where Fiona and I are having lunch. She wears light and vibrant colors that match her pale complexion and faint red hair. Sometimes she passes by from the left and sometimes she passes from the right. Sometimes she’s pulling a cart filled with spiral bound notebooks; sometimes she carries nothing. She must have gone past a dozen times before we finished with lunch. Later, I’m spending a few minutes of quality time with a cup of tea on the sidewalk outside Bauhaus. The same girl strolls up to the corner, waits for the light to change, and crosses the street, where she climbs into a Volvo and drives away. And that’s it.

There’s a guy on a bicycle stopped at a red light. He has two long crutches balances across the handlebars. The light changes and he peddles into the intersection. He’s wearing a brace on his right foot.