I walk across each day not noticing people noticing me. Sure, I’ll notice the appreciative once-over from the guy on the bus when it’s too early for me to care that yes indeed my legs are still very much there, and I’ll notice the girl eyeing my tights as I pass her in the hall, but mostly ’cause I’m busy checking out her fantastic curves at the same time. But with most people, I don’t notice them noticing me.
I notice other people quite a lot. Friends, strangers, acquaintances. I notice their jawlines, cheekbones, how their hair falls just so across their eyebrows and brushes their forehead with a certain, quiet grace. I notice the girl standing in the Tim Horton’s lineup with the raucous auburn curls cascading down her shoulders, and I want to run my fingers through the corkscrews and soak up their warmth.
I notice socks, smiles, freckles. I notice eyes: pale, muddy, piercing, jewel-toned, clear, warm, endless, crinkled in laughter, half-asleep, studious. I notice hats, the colour and each specific dip and bow of their lips. I notice lipstick. I notice the delicate curve of collarbones and neck-pockets and hips and hands waving excitedly, soft hair curly hair long glorious wavy hair facial hair stubble eyelashes.
I notice the three birthmarks on the girl’s neck sitting beside me on the bus, like baby fingerprints dipped in molasses.
But when I notice you noticing the small dots on my neck, like some errant painter dipping burnt umber speckles across my skin, curving taut over my collarbone, hiding behind my ear, I notice you noticing me in quite a new way.
Your new eyes make my skin crackle.
© Emily Bragg 2013