Character Studies

He sits watching out the window while the buzz of conversation goes on around him. This man is neither young, nor is he old, at least not by my standards. He is tall and rail thin, yet I saw him walk in and he moves with the easy grace of a man who has spent a lot of his life on his feet. Squinting slightly against the sun’s attempts to get through the dirty window, he allows the creases around his eyes and mouth to show. That face has laughed a lot over the years, and many of those years have been spent in the sun.
For a moment he turned back to his companions’ conversation.  Smiling, he adds a comment in a smooth baritone voice that could easily hypnotize. They chuckle at his remark and he goes back to the view from the window. Who is this man?
She sits alone in a large room full of people. Her eyes are closed, yet her body is moving. This girl is young, late teens at the most, yet she has the ease and self-confidence of a much more experienced woman.  Her hair dances as he head moves, her face twisting into different expressions and contortions. Mouth moving, hands dancing in the air, she sings a silent song, no sound escaping her perfect lips. People watch her in fascination, yet she is unaware, her eyes closed to the immediate world.
Finally, as her hair swings aside like liquid silk, I see the ear buds and the cord leading to the device in her lap. Suddenly her eyes open and she makes eye contact. I smile and give her a thumbs up. She grins and waves, never pausing in her silent song, clearly devoted to the unseen audience who listen attentively on another plane that only she can see.  Who is this girl?
Who are these people? Characters in an upcoming novel perhaps? Well maybe, but in truth, they are just two of the people I saw on the boat the last time I went over to the city.
So, are you a people watcher like me?  Do you sing in the car? Careful, I might be watching. Tee hee  Yes indeed, this is how I often find characters for my stories. How about you folks? Have you seen any interesting characters lately?

7 thoughts on “Character Studies

  1. I love your people watching posts, Prudence! Another great one.

    Unless I'm daydreaming, which is often the case ;), I observe others often—their conversations especially. I picked up some intriguing bits at the airport this weekend. It's amazing what people talk about in public, near open, listening ears!

  2. Yes, I definitely sing in the car. I have also taken a notepad to the park, watched the 'characters' walk by and taken notes. Or on one occasion when I forgot my notepad, but had to kill time in a coffee shop, I wrote down character descriptions on the back of a bank slip. They were just too good to pass up.

  3. People watching is a favorite passtime. I used to be able to enjoy it more before I had to keep my eyes glued to my crazy kids. LOL I will enjoy it again. There is so much to be learned from simply observing, or listening as August pointed out. You have a keen eye.

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