Exercise 4: Describe An Active Area – See What Your Writer’s Eye Notices


This exercise is just from a day when I was on my way home from class one day, and I just noticed what I noticed.  Here’s the exercise:

It was the day the sun beat down on everything, making me squint my eyes from the pain of its bright reflection off of the pavement.  It was the same day that a very pretty guy walking past me stared at me as though he thought I too was pretty, though I know better.  It was the afternoon the bus was late, and the platform was overfilled with the students and the elderly, all of us waiting for the means to get where we needed to be.  The occasional cold breeze made it impossible to decide if I needed my sweater on or not, the air current making it immediately too cold with it and too hot without it.

Turning my back on the rest of the platform, I leaned over the railing, letting the sun press into the back of my head as I opened Hamlet, and began to finger through the pages.  I wasn’t looking for anything in particular.  The bus would be arriving any moment, and I didn’t have time to get attached to reading it.  Besides, I would never be able to focus between the chatter of the people on the platform, and the honking and growling sounds of cars passing on the street that surrounding me.  So I let my eyes scan across the words, taking in the shape of the stanzas and a line here and there, and glancing up every now and again to notice cars or people that passed nearby.

It was the man leaning down to pick up a fallen matchbook who got my attention that afternoon.  Taking his time, he slowly bent over, hands resting on his knees and shoulders hunching from the effort, to scoop it up with his right hand.  His skin was pale and wrinkled, and he couldn’t quite straighten the curve in his back as he pulled himself upright once again.

He began to walk away before he even looked at the V of folded white cardboard, and his thin body rocked from side to side like a pendulum as he walked onward.  A few steps off, his head tilted gently to look at his right hand, which offered the matchbook in an upwardly curled palm. With his other hand, he opened it, turned it over, and then released it, his head jerking to the left and down as he continued on.  Closing the matchbook in his right fist, he passed it behind his back to his left hand, walked a few more steps to the nearest lamppost, and tossed the folded cardboard back on the ground.  He did not look back as he continued his swaying struggle along the pavement.

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day!

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