Finis Origine Pendet: Quiet Crossings

Nora Sharma '24
May 1, 2023
Nora Sharma

There’s a silence when we walk past each other now. It’s not a bad silence, I’d say. We see each other, we smile, we wave. He looks down at his phone and keeps walking, always on the way to something. Usually, I am too. When we cross paths, I ponder what his smile means.

Sometimes he’s easy to read, like when we made eye contact while I was walking with my friends from the dining hall, and he was walking towards us on the other side of the path. He was wearing a big fluffy brown Patagonia sweater, and he saw me, and he smiled really big, and he waved his arms back and forth so fast like pages of a book animation. It was so cute. He looked so cute. We didn’t say anything, but that day I felt he was so happy to see me and that made me feel so warm. I didn’t say anything back because I didn’t feel the need to. Does he know I was happy to see him? I hope he knows I’m always so happy to see him.

Sometimes I get nervous to say hi to him. Sometimes I want to tell him that his sweater is nice. Is that weird? Will he think I’m hitting on him? A lot of the time, he’s too far away for me to say something, but at what distance is he close enough? My mind is littered with thoughts that pile like crushed cans and plastic wrap thrown into a sea of doubt. Am I bothering him? Making him late? Does he still care anymore? Why is his smile less big? Often, I ponder what his smile means, and I remind myself that he is busy with things I know little to too much about and things I don’t know about and that I shouldn’t take his smile personally. I remember that I am so happy to see him, and I continue down the path. I wear a blushed smile.

Editor’s Note: This poem first appeared in the winter 2023 edition of Pendulum, Exeter’s literary arts journal.

Finis Origine Pendet

The Exeter Bulletin

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Black and white drawing of a smiling woman

The Exeter Bulletin