Not Always what They Seem

I saw this man sitting by the bay, facing the sun, his face opened wide to the water and the sky. The bridge was strung like a harp, playing the sounds of the city.

I saw this man with his slicked back, blue-black hair, his drainpipe jeans and pointed boots and became convinced he had been transported from another era. He was reading and I thought that maybe he was a poet writing of protest and enlightenment, trying to find the heart in the world, trying to find his soul. I thought that he was writing of his childhood sitting in an immaculate kitchen in the 1960s watching his mother, dressed like Jacqueline Kennedy, make a sandwich with the crusts sliced off so neatly she could have been a draftsman. I thought of him eating his sandwich, drinking a large glass tumbler of chilled milk that bubbled and brimmed over the edges while his mother smoked a cigarette so neatly she left a red rim of lipstick in the same spot every time.

I wondered if his time in the kitchen with his mother had changed his view of women for good. I couldn’t decide if it was in a good way or a bad way. I couldn’t tell by looking if he cared enough about symmetrical sandwiches and red-rimmed cigarettes to let them alter things for good.

I suddenly had to know what he was reading.  Was it Ginsberg? Was it Kerouac?

Robert Lowell, perhaps?

I became convinced he was of an existentialist bent and was reading Simone de Beauvoir or maybe even Sartre.

I had to know. I had to know.

I edged closer, shuffling, pretending to be captivated by the view. I sidled up beside him, excited, hardly able to breathe. He turned a page.  His hair was streaked with midnight blue in the sunlight. Just like Elvis. I stifled a giggle. He was reading the betting pages, checking his watch to see who was running in the daily double at Randwick racecourse.

Even when the setting lends itself to the dramatic, things aren’t always what they seem.

30 thoughts on “Not Always what They Seem

  1. Laughing. What is it that makes us imagine a reality so much finer than that which shadows us along our daily routes? I love this look at what if…And I hope he wins the trifecta!


    1. I know. I am always creating these alternate scenarios for people I don’t even know. I hope he won too. He deserved to after giving me such a fun time thinking about his imaginary life!


  2. It’s of course exactly the same problem like in your previous post about looking and seeing. The mind makes the story. Our mind is a fool. Utterly unreliable. We are the fool when we believe what we think, but we are not our mind, we use our mind.
    By the way, the picture reminds me of unforgettable wonderful times under the harbor bridge…


  3. This is fantastic – you have parachuted into the land of imagination and landed in the ‘real’ Australia (I prefer your world any day) – that mother with the lipstick stain and the neat sandwiches is sublime – haha


    1. He probably doesn’t talk to his mother because he spends too much time playing the gee-gees and she is always at the Leagues Club playing the pokies. They’re like ships that pass in the night. Whoops, there I go again 😆


  4. Kind of reminds me of Laura; tall, stately, frangrant … I think I may have been a little bit in love with her. UNTIL …

    I found she had a grating ‘Estuary’ accent, a command of the language of the lower deck that would make Gordon Ramsay blush, spoke of characters in TV soaps like they were real people, and had no opinion she didn’t get out of the ‘Sun’



  5. Aw shucks…I was hoping it was Elvis, he looks like Elvis to me in this pic. What a great photo though, even though he was just reading the racing news!!!

    BTW, re: Elvis, I just recently noted that Mitzi and the King of R and R “left the building” so to speak on the same date. Not the same year of course. Do ya think Mitz is sitting with Elvis, helping him think up new tunes etc…I like to think so. Some catty themes I’m sure. I know you loved the Mitz, thought I’d share this. Hugs, G


    1. NO WAY! On the same date? Well, our dearest Mitzi is definitely sitting with the King now. I’m sure they would get on well. Awww. What a lovely thought.

      I thought he was Elvis too *giggle*


    1. You could be right, Brad. On the water with those bridges in view is definitely a good pplace to search for her. I hope she helped him pick the winning horse!!!


    1. I got carried away, I think, Meleah. It was fun though. It was just unusual to see someone dressed like him in the local park. He looked so cool. His outfit put too many ideas in my head 😆


  6. Too funny! I do this to, make up stuff about people to pass the time on the buses, but this takes the cake so to speak. I swear I can hear you snorting with laughter after discovering what he actually was reading ! lol


    1. I had to put my hand over my mouth to stop myself from laughing too loud. Literally. Here I am thinking he was some sort of deep-thinking hero and he’s reading the racing pages. It was hilarious, Cathy. Really gave me a good chuckle!!


  7. Fabulous photo, Selma, and I love this fantastic, imaginative composition. I wonder what would have transpired if you had said to him, “Oh, I thought you were Elvis”


  8. Lol. Sometimes it pays to just stay rooted in the imagination, doesn’t it? But I was relieved to know he wasn’t reading a gossip rag. ;0)

    (PS – terrific observing and describing!)


    1. Thank God he wasn’t reading about the Kardashians. That would have completely shattered my illusions. At least the racing pages gave him some kind of street cred!


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