Sitting on a corner bench in a busy weekend airport, her hand moves to the frayed satchel strapped across her chest. Her eyes drift closed and she immerses herself. Shoes clacking and slapping across the worn tiles. Voices rise and fall as they pass one way or the other. Tearful goodbyes, business deals built and torn down, a child’s hungry cries, a name called out, worries and joy. The smells of vacuumed carpet and sterile floors, leather bags and stuck zippers, decorative statues and the linger of too much perfume. Her eyes whisper open and color floods in. Resolves into a sea of moving faces. Every color and shape and size and emotion. Each one with their own story to tell. If we could but see a snapshot into the life of one of them, oh the lessons we could learn. Compassion and desire and hopefulness and anguish and misery and tribulation and triumph and justice and reflection and introspection and growth. Her fingers flip the latch on her satchel and she withdraws a pad of paper and a chewed up yellow pencil. Looking up, her eyes fall immediately upon a man in his forties. He’s wearing a hopeful look and holding a sign printed with a woman’s name in precise lettering. At his feet rests a vase of lilies. His attire is casual yet neat and clean. As she continues to observe him, she imagines who the woman is, that he needs a sign. Her pencil scratches out a sketch of the man while her mind races with his story. Flipping the page, she looks to her right and sees a young woman, head bowed, with a cut on her cheek surrounded by a huge bruise that covers nearly half her face. Periodically she glances up at an impeccably dressed man twice her senior who sits beside her. The page flips again as she looks beyond them to see a couple in perhaps their early thirties. She’s dragging him by the hand across the wide hall with determination in her eye and a look of wildness about her. The artist imagines he couldn’t pull away even if he wished it. Turning aside she momentarily meets the gaze of a man slouched in his seat nearby. Wearing black leather and covered in dark tattoos, he is clearly nursing a hangover. Her perceptive eye knows he appears older than he really is. Sadness and self-loathing ooze from his pores. What has brought him so low? Sketches. Just sketches of a thousand people living a thousand lives. Sketches filled with tragedy. Sketches made of love and loss. Sketches of you and me.
tara caribou | ©️2018