Short Story: The Watcher

They parted at the junction, a swift kiss and resolutely squared shoulders as they went their ways. He went left; she went straight on from where they had been. The traffic on the road was sparse enough in the bright early morning sunrise for neither of them to pay more than cursory attention to crossing, and so their pace was steady as they diverged.

Her posture seemed to slump a little once they were out of each other’s view. A rounding of the shoulders and a wistfulness of expression perhaps that hinted at distraction over what lay ahead. His expression contorted briefly and a run of the hand near his eye suggested a tear brushed aside. He drew himself upright and increased his pace.

The bright but chilly morning seemed the perfect setting for the moment. Sunshine bathing everything in light that looked warm while heating little around it. Where they were going, I couldn’t tell you. What caused such expressions was also a tale wrapped up in where they had come from.

I could probably find some of those answers, but work called and I had better things to be doing. I changed the view on my monitor; on to the next set of cameras, and then the next and the next in the rotation.

In each view I could see stories unfolding, but always from the outside, without context. People wandering or striding, or driving in and out of view. For seconds they were centre stage for an audience of one, before disappearing again to wherever their journeys took them. The cameras saw everything and cared for nothing, leaving interest to us if warranted.

Occasionally I get curious about the lives that play out in those fractions before the cameras, but then there’s always another view, another moment. The recordings persist for a while before being overwritten, losing even that memory except for where it stays in my own mind’s eye.

Sometimes I wonder what those people would think to know that their triumphs, their losses, or their moments in the morning sun are shared by someone they will never meet or know. I like to think the romance of that thought outweighs the shock, but I’ll likely never know.

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