“No,” you protest. “You’re missing the point. Listen to what I’m saying.”
My eyebrows vanish into the thicket of my hair, but you don’t notice. You’re too busy re-explaining the trivial point you used to cut into my conversation. I wasn’t talking to you. I’m not interested in what you said. So no, I wasn’t listening properly.
I look, and I see you. I study the flare of anger you’ve used to chastise me, and notice my friends have turned away, embarrassed at what they might be witnessing. I look closer still, and I see you with your wife, and your child. And I know now why they are so shy and meek, barely a word to say.
I look at you and I see right through that genial mask. You let it slip. And if you can’t hide your true self from a stranger, I don’t imagine you even try behind closed doors.
I see you, and I see what you are. Don’t try to speak to me again: I most certainly won’t be listening.