Preamble. I am usually notified of Writing 101 assignments towards the end of my work day, which is why the only spot I could really sit and observe uninterrupted for a while was my daily commute home.
The setting for today’s post is the bus I take to and from work. The subjects are two people, a man and a woman. The interaction is a conversation, most of which I could not eavesdrop on anyway, due to the bus’ rumbling. But who needs words when you’ve got body language
The scene was a study in nonverbal communication and sensuality. The man was facing forward, towards the woman, and the woman had laid her legs across the two seats,resting her back against the bus wall.
What transfixed me was their engagement to each other. At least one pair of eyes was always trained on the other, even if the other was briefly looking away at that moment. Then again, how often did they look away? I probably could have counted the number on one hand.
The shyness between them was at once endearing and yet sly; I could tell they didn’t know each other, but were trying to impress, enchant.
One corner of the man’s lips tilted upwards at seemingly strategic points of the conversation. The woman treated her hair like a lover; she could not stop running her hand through it.
Her eyelashes performed a coy dance; two seconds up, one second down. His fingers tapped a ritual on his knees, corresponding with his nods of agreement. How silly we humans look under an onslaught of attraction.
Sensuality cannot be taught. At the beginning stages, awakening from its dormancy, it is raw and unleashed, the birth of a star in all its chaos and beauty.
Sensuality, like relentless metal, can be tempered to a fine point, practiced to a devastating perfection. Some people wield it like a weapon, to protect the vulnerable flesh underneath.
Sensuality, like a rose beckoning sunlight, can be enveloped in warmth, a love letter for the senses. Some people use it like a salve, to caress a calm into a storm.
Attraction – it can feel like an imprint on the skin, a squeeze in your chest, or a hit-and-run – or all three.
The bus stops at the transit center. The man and the woman look surprised, noticing their surroundings. Oh, I could almost hear their thoughts, I thought we had all night…
An apologetic smile, a perfunctory handshake, and they walked out into the rain, separating ways.
DAY 10 ASSIGNMENT: Let the Scene Write Itself
So far, we’ve found inspiration from our own experiences, images, words, and more. Today, let’s quietly observe the world around us and write about what we see.
Find a spot where you can sit and observe for at least 20 minutes: a bench at a park, shopping mall, or museum; from inside your car in a parking lot; or even a place close to home, like your front porch. Ideally, it’s a location where you can watch action and interaction in a setting (between people, wildlife, weather, etc.).
You can write your post “on location,” on your laptop or your phone, so the details are fresh in your mind. Or, you can take notes first in a notebook, then draft the scene later at home. Don’t be afraid to take risks! Your response can be purely nonfiction and be an exact report of what you see, or a piece of creative nonfiction that uses storytelling elements (like point of view, pacing, and dialogue) to shape a more dramatic narrative.