“I only observe” I’ll inform you. You’ll think it’s a funny habit. Then you’ll shyly ask what I observed about you .I’ll say nothing. I’ll try to distract you by entwining and twisting my fingers, or I’ll pretend that I didn’t hear you. When I see an expectant look still plastered to your face, I’ll resign. “Nothing” I’ll say simply.
And then a year later, when we are walking on the beach all alone, you’ll catch me looking at you and you’ll ask “what did you observe about me,” I will just shake my head. When we are angry with each other, you’ll see a look of deep remorse etched onto my face, and my wide open eyes gazing intently at yours, you’ll think I am observing you. You’ll smile deep inside, and moments later it will creep onto your face, because you are still waiting. Waiting for the compliment I’ll never give you. Waiting to discover something new, but you never will. At least not from me.
The thing is, I do observe keenly. I have scrutinized everything about you. But my eyes won’t decipher beauty the way yours can do. My brain isn’t accustomed to look and marvel for long periods of time. It works, perhaps way more than necessary, and it keeps working. Then it moves on to the next fascinating thing you have to offer. It’s like a machine working overtime, with an inbuilt sense of urgency. And when it has completely scanned you, and seen you, and perceived you, it will stop. You’ll be reduced to a mere object it has already viewed, already judged, and already moved on from.
Five years from now, when we are sitting at your front porch sipping our evening tea, and I’ll have that look on my face again and I haven’t spoken in an hour, you’ll ask me. I’ll still not know how to answer you. I don’t really realize what I’m doing, until I am finally done with it. So I say yes. Yes I’m observing.
“What have you observed about me?” This time you won’t be shy. Your voice will be sharp, and your tone will be accusing, and your face will be expressionless. You’ve asked me this question a million times and I’ve contemplated the answer a million times. I look away, and you know I have avoided the question again. I have never told you what I saw, what I see, and even though you kept asking me, I was pretty sure I never will.
And finally, when years from now, when the look shows up on my face again and you see it too, you don’t bother to ask. You look at me, with part amusement and part loathing, you gaze intently. There’s a certain kind of fire in your eyes.
“I only observe” I proclaim to you, and to the universe.
“I know,” and then you won’t have anything else left to say.