I told myself that I will read more this year because I need some time to myself. So far, I have read two books and I am on my third, which I think is a major accomplishment. Right now, I am reading The Girl on the Train. It’s a thriller novel that everyone seems to be talking about since it has been adapted into a movie. It’s about a woman named Rachel who takes the train to London every day and each time the train makes a stop at signal she is given a small glimpse into the life of a seemingly perfect couple who lives at one the houses near the train tracks. Each day, she watches them. She named the Jason and Jess. One day, she sees something shocking, which inadvertently gets her involved in their life.
As I was reading, I found myself with similarities with Rachel. We both take notice of the people around us and wonder what they are thinking. Another one, in particular, is that we both invent stories of people we see every day, but do not know personally:
There is a family who I call the Starbucks family. My apartment is next door to a Starbucks and it is in walking distance. Every other day one family member will go pick up the whole family Starbucks. I usually see the Asian woman before I go to work. She is always on her way back, sauntering cheerfully, and carrying a carrier of four drinks. Two cold and two hot. They say you can tell a lot about a person by what they order at Starbucks.
There is a family that lives below me. I call them The Family That Lives Below Me. I have never seen them, but I can hear them. I think it is a husband, wife, their two kids and their dog. They are very loud and spend a lot of time on the patio. They do a lot screaming, yelling and shouting. I always catch snippets of their conversations, but when they yell. I hear everything. Their patio is right above my bedroom window. I can feel the anger emanating. I often worry for their well-being, especially their children and their dog. Each night, I hear the dog yelping loudly as if injured. It’s nonstop. There are some nights where the children will get in trouble and that’s when I hear a lot yelling, objects being thrown and doors being slammed. Sometimes I close my window so that I don’t have to hear it, but it penetrates.
Since the weather has gotten warmer, there is a middle-aged man who will sit on a patio chair in his garage, shirt off, and an oldies station blasting. He’s the Old Guy. He usually looks up when I walk by or when I open my window and draw my blinds. He always smiles and says hi to me, but I am usually in a hurry so I always manage a small wave. I don’t think he thinks I’m rude because he still continues to say hi to me.
Each day, I watch these people and I wonder if what I see is all a facade. It makes me wonder how people perceive me when they see me walking outside of their window. Do they ask the same questions as I? What does that family get Starbucks every day? What does that family constantly yell and scream abuse at each other and their children? Why does that old man sit outside in his garage every day? When I leave and they see me outside their window, do they ask, where is she going? What is she thinking?