The cold grey street, sad dim lights which blink a few times and dies out often, the crying noise of the toddler coming from a distance attracted Evan to occupy his mind with many interesting thoughts while on his way back to the dorm. He looked around him counted the windows in each building and as per his guesswork, he assumed 20 families to be living in street 51B which he would cross every day at least once. His misty eyes descried the shadow of two people dancing on the second floor of the first building. As his eyes moved more upwards he saw a girl in a white laced top talking over a phone wearing a big smile while tucking her hair behind her ears. She looked radiant and happy.
Suddenly, he was distracted by the beautiful girl when a little Pomeranian puppy started barking at him. He was puzzled for a moment and looked at the dog’s owner who was signing with eyes to pass the dog’s toy which landed near his foot. Evan took the toy and gently gave it back to the owner and asked him its name. The 9th grader boy with the 97 printed volleyball uniform looked momentarily at Evan, who was still waiting for his answer, flipped his phone and said, “He is Brodi and hates strangers. Excuse us.” Evan hooked his gaze onto Brodi who was leaving whilst happily playing and guessed that the boy must not know him entirely. He took a few steps forward and wondered if every human who have ever lived on this planet had a name. He started weighing if ‘not knowing who you are’ is worse than ‘not knowing what their name’ or if it is the other way around. He then started asking questions in his head if this is difficult to answer what question is easiest ever to ask.
Wondering quietly on many aspects, Evan sat down on one side of the street under the pink moonlight. There was a room on the third floor of the left building that got his attention. It looked cold, lifeless with faint white light. Evan worried if the person living there is in the right state. Then he looked at the fourth house on the same floor where a family of four seemed to be gathered around the dining table for their dinner. The lighting of the house, the plants, their happy faces made his heart warm. And when he turned to his right he saw a couple entering the second building holding the hands of each other affectionately. He realised that they are the same couple who lives opposite his sick uncle’s apartment.
The memory of a toddler crying in the beginning abruptly flashed in front of him and so he quickly got up to look for the kid. He couldn’t figure out where the young child was but he saw a strange silhouette in one of the buildings. The person was sitting on their knees, head down as if weeping with their short hair falling on the face. “What could be the reason?’’ he thought to himself.
He pondered over it for some time and got curious over the questions. ‘Were the family really happy?’, ‘Why was the little kid crying?’, ‘What made the pretty girl giggle?’, ‘why was the dog’s owner seemed to be little grumpy?’
It didn’t end here. He continued wondering if all people living around him were safe and not depressed. He worried if there were any who was extremely ill or prone to any kind of assault. He wanted to know why it is easy to show your bright side and necessary to hide your weak side. He wished to hear the stories that might only be knowable or heard by the walls and the pillows.
Only if he had those pair of cups tied to a string used by the little ones while playing phone-game, he could have lent an ear to those who needed it the most. As his thoughts grew deeper he felt overwhelmed, a little helpless at the thought of how many dark as well as happy stories might be incubating behind all these ugly weak walls of the building and the strangers outside will never know who might actually be praying for help.