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What defines ordinary? Extraordinary? What if the most extraordinary people in life were those that slipped away, unnoticed. What if we are missing the whole point of our short time on this orb of dirt called Earth? What if we have been missing each spectacular moment of our humanity because we are so preoccupied with trying to remain human enough for the people we think we'll meet in the future? What if we are running out of time to see the extraordinary people that have been waiting patiently in front of us? 


 He told me I was extraordinary. I chuckled and sipped my tea. What a strange thing to say, I thought. His fingers slid across the table and rested on my wrist. The glint of his wedding band shone with silent, accusatory brilliance.

“What if I told you I was leaving?” I asked.

“You always tell me you’re done with me, but you have no one else,” he replied, resuming his newspaper and drawing back his hand. The waiter refilled our mugs and my heart seemed to empty with every drop of tea.


"I'm not really sure what I'm doing here," she says to no one in particular. She slouches in her seat; headphones nestled in her ears, nails bitten off in anxious frustration. The bus moves on, passing a homeless woman selling puppies from a plastic crate. The girl speaks to no one and no one in particular replies.

"I don't think I'll make it through today...none of us ever do," he says to his third cup of black coffee. He lights another cigarette and inhales the bitter heat. The street café is bustling with lines of daily suits trying to order a sandwich before the end of their lunch breaks. Another day, another sandwich, another 10 hours of cubicle-rape.

Every time she wakes up, she knows he won't be there. The pillow next to her is still firm, cold and untouched. She makes enough coffee for two: perhaps out of habit, or maybe nostalgic self-deprivation. Maybe out of her desperate need for hope. A hope that someday he'll be drinking coffee in that god-awful apartment again.

He needs a moment; just a small moment to collect his thoughts in an exhalation. He sees she's slipping away, but he can't seem to find the energy to get up from the couch and stop her. Maybe it's his fault, maybe it's hers. He blows out the candles and corks the bottle of merlot. Maybe it was the acting in the romantic comedy they saw last night.

What if ordinary people were the most extraordinary things that could ever affect another human being? What if no one needed anyone else? Sometimes the most ordinary moments are the most extraordinary. Isn't it sad we'll never realize that until they're gone? 


Created: Jan 20, 2011


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