I spend lots of afternoons sitting right here on this bench, just watching. Today is one of those days. Most of the people walk by too quick for me to hear much more than just a glimpse of their story, but that man over across the street has caught my eye. I can't quite figure him out. He is leaned up against an old brick building, his fingers feeling that brick like a blind man feels something in order to see it, but I can tell he's not blind. Another thing that is odd, today is Saturday but he is wearing what looks like most folks Sunday best. His are pretty well worn, I am guessing those spit polished shoes and baggy dress pants have seen more than a decades worth of Sundays. It looks like he also used to eat a fair bit more than he does now the way his belt is cinched almost all the way up.
Typically, I just watch the people, but my curiosity of what he is doing gets the best of me. I cross the street to where he is leaning.
"Excuse me, Sir, why are you rubbing that wall like a blind man reads braille?"
He chuckles deep and happy.
"Now isn't that quite the observation! What is your name?"
"Sarah. Sarah Montgomery."
"Well, Sarah Montgomery," His words come out like hot fudge pouring over vanilla ice cream, "let me tell you a little secret; every building you see has a story to tell and this building is telling me its story."
I ponder this for a moment.
"Are you a writer?" I ask.
"More of a listener. Everything has something to say, but not everybody takes the time to hear it."
I tilt my head and squint my eye at him.
"You sound like my Momma. All good writers are good listeners, at least that is what she tells me. My Daddy was a writer and some day I am going to be a writer, too. Momma's mostly just interested in the people who are doing the talking though, she ain't never told me to listen to buildings, maybe she doesn't know they are talking. She and I, we are watchers. We watch and hear what stories people are telling. Kinda like how you are listening to the building I guess."
"Your Momma sounds like a real wise woman. How about I make you a deal. What if we sit down a spell and you tell me the stories that you see people telling and I will tell you the stories that the building told me."