Every time I look at someone sitting across from me at the coffee shop
Someone working hard on their computer
Writing thoughtfully in their notebook
Someone giving their full attention to the papers spread in front of them
Someone not squirming in their seat, staring out the window
Someone who has a really nice outfit
Stylish and comfortable and well-fitting and unwrinkled
Someone whose hair seems messy in a planned-out way
Someone too focused to care about their hair
Focused yet carefree
Like the Dalai Lama, someone like that
Every time I see this person, envy the wonderful life they lead,
Wonder what it’s like to be completely perfect in every way,
I try to imagine the person who feels the same way when they look at me
The person who doesn’t notice the tightness of my back
The surging stress hormones in my blood
The pimples and bruises and scratches
The pile of chewed gum in the wrapper next to my computer
The person who looks at me and thinks, I bet her life is perfect.
That person can’t exist every day,
But they might exist any day, the person for whom I’m the perfect stranger.
I think of them, and how they think I am
And I try to be like that.