A single flake of snow fluttered down from the grey clouds above. Another one following soon after. Snow covered the city in a white blanket. More snow falling from above. It would have been a peaceful sight if not for the bustle and hustle of the city. Hurried feet rushing back and forward. Cars speeding through the streets and horns sounding. The occasional siren wailing in the distance. Everyone had somewhere to be and they were impatient to get there. The snow was an inconvenience not a beauty. If one listened closely they would be able to hear the soft crunch of the snow as hurried feet packed it into the ground. But the people in the city were too busy to notice anything else except themselves. They were all involved in their own little bubbles. Only one person seemed aware of all that was going around him. He ambled slowly through the streets, eyes fixed on the snowflakes. His hands were stuffed in his pockets and chin tucked in his jacket in an attempt to stay warm. His slow breaths sent puffs of fog into the evening air.  

Coming to a stop the man turned to look at the people rushing past him. Nobody seemed to notice him there. Standing there in the middle of the sidewalk. They were all immersed in their own lives too busy to notice the pensive man before them. The man who watched them go by sadly. Sadly watching as people missed what was going on around them. People who were only concerned with their own world. Wrapped up and only paying attention to themselves and those who were involved with them. The people who gave no thought of those they did not know. The sad blue eyes of the man watched as the people around him rushed on with their lives. Uncaring of those around them. Most people were like this only concerned with what affects them. There are people who pretend to care about people they do not know. People who donate to causes to help people they don’t know. But do they really do it for others or themselves. Do they do it so they can pat themselves on the back and congratulate themselves that they helped others. Do the people who run those organizations do it because they want to help others or because it affected them once. Is it for others or themselves. Do they think they are doing it for others, but deep down it’s for themselves. So many people who pretend to care. Who lie and say that it’s for others, but they are lying to themselves. And why shouldn’t they. They are the protagonist of their own story. In a book if the event or person has no effect on the main character, the protagonist, the author doesn’t put it in. The book is about the main character. If another person has no effect on them they are just a faceless, nameless person. A person who is nothing more than a body.  

The man stares at the people, each the own main character of their story. People who are unaware of all the other stories going on around them. Unaware of all the stories that have gone on over the course of thousands upon thousands of years. How small and insignificant one's story really is compared to the mass amount of people and their stories there really is. Maybe that is why so many misunderstandings happen. Why so many people dislike others and why people are so quick to judge others. Because they are so wrapped up in their own lives. Because they fail to see other people's stories. Fail to see how insignificant their story is compared to all the stories that grace the world. What if people stopped looking at their own story. If people let themselves become a side character. A support system to another main character. If they stopped trying to make the world revolve around them. 

The man let out a sigh turning to walk along the side of the river they weaved itself through the city. It was hard to become a side character in a story. Especially in moments when he was by himself. When he had nobody around to be the support off, but sometimes it was harder when people were around. When he tried to become the main character of the group. Hard when everyone else wanted to be the main character too. Hard not to be dragged into the mindset of being the side character. Everyone wants to be important. To be the main character. No matter how hard one tries to become a side character they will probably always want more. Always want to be the main character. The truth is that people are selfish. Even the most unselfish thing a person has ever done has an inner selfish reason. A deep hidden one that people love to deny. Everything revolves around the main character. It is all about them anyway, but the main character has to be likable. So people hide their flaws. Hide their selfish desires from themselves so that they can be the main character. Yet their only has ever been one truly unselfish act in the history of mankind.

Turning the man walks into a cafe that sits beside the river. Warm air engulfs him and hugs him to warm up the cold that had seeped into his bones. His eyes scan the occupants of the cafe. The people sitting seem to at least be moving slower than those outside. Yet they are still wrapped up in their own world. To them he is a new face. One they have not seen before. This is where they go. Where they frequent our work, but to him they are new faces. People he has never seen before. The woman behind the counter smiles a welcoming smile. He returns the smile and wonders briefly what her story is. What would it be like to be the main character of her life. To see what her life is. How she processes things. How she views life. He walks over and orders a hot drink. Does she ever wonder what it would be like if she grew up in a different place? Does she ever think about how there were thousands of different ways her story could have gone? How if she had never been born how she would suddenly not be a main character. Does she think of how people see everything in first person? Does she ever wonder what it would be like to see the world in third person? How small she really is in this massive universe. He turns and walks over to the only empty spot in the cafe. A group of friends are already sitting there, but they allow him to sit down. Silently accepting him to be part of their stories.  

As the group laughs and jokes he wonders how they really see their friends. He wonders if the group of friends are aware of the fact that even though their stories are insignificant that the most significant person cares about them. He wonders if they are aware of how their inner core is selfish. Do they try to be good or do they realize their own shortcomings. Are they self aware of all their faults, but realize they are still loved. Will they realize it on their own or will someone tell them. The man was suddenly pulled out of his thoughts in a voice. Looking up from his drink he looks at the young man who had spoken to him.

“What brings you here.”

The man sends the young man a smile. What brought him here? That answer depended on who was looking at it. Some may say work and stress drove him to be sitting here in a cafe by a river. Others may say he simply was wondering and happened to go into the cafe. Yet he knows that neither of these are the answer. He knows what brings him here, “I was searching for something.”

“Oh did you find what you were looking for?” The young man asked.

“I found some of what I was looking for,” He smiled, “But I don’t think I'll ever find everything I’m looking for. Not for a long time anyway.’

The group of friends exchanged looks. The three young men in front of him seemed unsure how to respond. How could they know where his thoughts had taken him. That he had only come up with some answers to the thousands swirling in his head. The young man who had spoken to him leaned forward a laugh slipping from his lips, “You look like you could use a friend, I am Julian and these two blokes are Ivan and Kevin.”

A warm feeling spread in his soul. A feeling of acceptance washed over him and he grinned. Leaning forward to shake Julian’s hand he wondered how they had come to know each other. He wondered what problems they had and how he could support them. How he could become a side character in their stories and his. Smiling once more he spoke one word, “Josiah.”

August 27, 2020 19:35

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Josefin Björk
07:20 Sep 04, 2020

You certainly paint a picture! I can see it before me, the snowy evening, dark outside, busy street. I like how the main character (so to speak) never gets a name until he gets someone in his life to use it. That's pretty effective storytelling. Do we have an identity if we don't have a community? As for criticism, I would maybe try to vary my sentences a bit. Try reading your story out loud! With so many short sentences in a row, the mood feels hasty. I feel that might contradict what you were going for. And as Lonnie said, there are some ...


14:35 Sep 04, 2020

Thank you so much for your lovely comment! It made me so happy to read it and it is defiantly a high point of my day. I love it when people leave reviews and such, because it gives me feedback on what I can do better. I don't often get people commenting on my work so it's hard for me to know what I can do to improve my writing. I'll often have my family and friends read it, but they don't often give me much constructive criticism. So thank you so much for the constructive criticism and well thought out comment.


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Lonnie Larson
02:11 Sep 03, 2020

Very good writing. A few grammatical issues; such as their instead of there, off instead of. All in all, A good story. Keep it up.


20:15 Sep 03, 2020

Thank you so much. I appreciate the feedback (grammer has never been one of my strong points). Your comment means a lot to me.


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