I Can See You

I can see you, standing there, leaning casually against the arm of your chair and talking to your friend. So...casually. You straighten up and I automatically straighten up, too. As if you’re watching me. Just in case you ever decided to look across the room and see me. The girl who’s sitting up straight in her chair too. Waiting for you to see her.

            Maybe I’ll catch your eye for a second as you scan the room, perhaps looking at the clock on the wall above me before your indifferent eyes landed on me, the girl sitting up straight in her chair and forcing herself to stare out the window. Then, your indifferent eyes move on, and my body trembles from your glance, and I try to hide the huge smile that threatened to take over my face, because, after all, you just looked at me.

            But you don’t look around the room, and you continue to talk with your friend, gesturing with your hands. I do that too. If you ever talked to me, you’d notice that I talk with my hands.

            But you don’t see me. I see you. I don’t see you the way I wish I could see you. Not that I can’t see you, because I can. See you sitting in the chair across from me. But that’s not the way I want to see you.

            I want to be able to see your thoughts flourish through your mind, as apt as a writer’s pen, not stopped by any sort of writers block. I want to see your character, the person you are underneath your façade, the person who’s hiding under that mask of casualty.

            But I don’t see you the way I want to because you don’t see me. You don’t see me, and you don’t see me. As far as you’re concerned, I’m a painting on a wall, a stiff girl looking pointedly at the window. And maybe I am. Maybe I’m nothing more than what you think of me because what you think of me is all that I want to be.

            So I sit. Waiting for you to see me because I am unable to force you to look upon me. Something so unworthy of you. So unworthy to look upon you. And yet, here I am, looking at you. Seeing you. Not really seeing you, mind. Like I want to see you. But looking at you just the same. And hoping, always hoping.

Hoping for you to turn around and look. It’s not hard, you know. You’ve done it before, and I’ve seen the way you move, so fluidly and gracefully, to turn and look at the clock. And me, below, hoping that your eyes will go a little lower, and see.

            But...knowing too. Knowing, deep down, in the recesses of my soul that someone as glorious as you can’t even take a moment from your fantastic life to turn around and see me. And that, to tell you the truth, I can’t blame you for it.

            Because who am I to even hope for you? How could a painting of a girl looking at a window even hope to catch your beautiful eyes? You’ll never see me because you never have, and if you never have, then you never will. See me. But I...I can see you.

Laura Santo

Originally published in the 2013-2014 edition of Outside In.