She put her contacts in her eyes, a minuscule part of her daily routine, and thought about filters. It was daunting to think of every set of eyes in the world—how we all have different filters and vantage points through which we see the world. The “#nofilter” killed her—was the person in the photo not projecting some side of themselves they wanted to portray to the world? It is a choreographed moment captured in time, still, without modifying the light. Without her contacts everything looked like a Monet painting. With her contacts things still felt like a Monet painting; all fuzzy about the edges. Sometimes seeing brings little clarity.


She thought about pouring herself into reading. Here empathy ruled. She could not only see the world through the lens of another, but could also understand their thought processes—clearly and precisely laid out on leaves of pages. There is little such methodological emotional processing in real life. Perhaps this was because people did not allow themselves enough time to process their thoughts and feelings before crashing into others. She often imagined elephants on tightropes, for all the delicacy people interacted with one another. There was an opening up of oneself in a book—both for the reader and the writer; the writer, in sharing the vantage point they gleaned, and the reader in allowing another vantage point to gently guide their own for the duration of the book. It made her wonder if every book was a trust exercise—you know, the ones were one party closes their eyes and falls back in full weight for the other party to catch (or not to catch)?


These thoughts filled her mind as she got ready, looking at the world through her filtered lenses. As she picked up the book she was reading and slipped it into her bag, she couldn’t help but feel less alone with the eyes of another in her backpack. She imagined people as unarticulated books; some slim soldiers of poetry, some budding novellas, some tomes of knowledge, some memoirs—unfolding their stories in living.


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