Yesterday I was sitting in a cafe on Broad Street, drinking something hot and writing a list in my notebook. Two girls were sitting at a table next to me, talking so loud I could not help but listen. Here is the story one of them was telling the other.
This girl (let's call her Babs) lives in a shared house, like basically everyone around here. This one women she lives with (let's call her Jewels) does not talk to anyone, keeps to herself and rarely leaves her room. Jewels has been living with Babs for about 6 months, about as long as I've been here. Babs does not know Jewels at all, they never talk, but when they are in the same room, Babs is friendly to Jewels.
All of this set up serves no purpose, it's just a trick to make you think this is a real story. It's not, it has no story arc, so I'll just skip to what happened.
So anyway, Babs found out that Jewels had been pregnant for the entire time she had known her, went into labor in the house, while everyone was home (I think they live with like 3 other people or something). Jewels then proceeded to exit the house, get a ride to the hospital by her boyfriend/baby-daddy, and had the baby. She then brought it back to the house, and Babs did not find out there was a baby in the house for ten whole days after it was born. No one knew she was pregnant, no one knew the baby was in the house, no one even knows Jewels. Now the land lord has found out and Jewels is being kicked out because there is a strict no-baby rule in the house.
On top of all this, Babs came home one night and a Police officer jumped out the door at her when she turned the key. She asked what was going on and he just said, "oh nothing to worry about," and left. Apparently Jewels called the cops on the baby-daddy because he took baby out for the day and did not bring it back till way later. Very interesting.
I sat there for a long time to get this whole story, and there are still big gaps in it. But that's the beauty of eavesdropped stories, they are never complete.
Then today, it happened again.
On the bus on my way home from work, I heard a couple sitting behind me kissing. Then I heard them whispering, trying to keep their bus conversation to themselves, not realizing that they were sitting behind a ipodless girl with a notebook.
Guy- "I'm prepared to die to never lose you."
Girl- "Never do this."
Guy- "Don't be scared please."
They spoke very quietly, and only phrases jumped out at me between bus stops, but this part I heard loud and clear. I gathered after some more listening that the man was from Portugal, and the women was from somewhere else entirely (sounded Italian). Neither of them spoke the other's language, but they both spoke broken English which seemed to have been enough to fall in love.
I wanted to turn around and see what they looked like, so when the bus stopped where I was getting off, I stood up and turned around to see if I could catch a glimpse. The moment I turned my head I caught the guy's eye; it was like he knew I had been listening the whole time. I quickly ran off the bus and did not look back, not even when the bus went past me. I expected him to be watching me still, silently accusing me of recording his most intimate conversation. I never saw the girl.
The funny thing is that this girl will probably never remember that bus conversation. This is probably the way the guy talks all the time, how his life is meaningless without her, so this conversation will probably fade into that place all our forgotten memories go. That space between where you left your wallet and what your homework is for next week; it's a wonderful place full of useful things. She will never find this bus conversation, but I'll never forget it. One person's loss is another person's gain, one person's insignificant moment is another person's accidental, eye-opening encounter.
I guess not having an ipod is not all bad. The world is much louder than I remember.