Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, October 18, 2012

you don’t know me

by John Grochalski

she snaps at me at the work desk
she says
you don’t know me
and i think that’s fine
i don’t want to know her as i don’t want to know most people
but it’s the way she says it
like she wanted me to know her but i never bothered
people are touchy this way
they expect you to take an active interest in them
many people do take an active interest
in one another
i see them out at bars and at restaurants
i see them at jobs nodding their heads
listening to maybe a third of what the other person is saying
before they open their mouths to speak
these people, they know each other
but me?
i’m not built like that
i’d rather keep it like strangers on a plane
i’d rather leave people alone
and not ask them so many questions
still, it’s kind of sudden and shocking to hear someone
spit that out at you
even though i probably deserve it
so angry and formal
so accusatory and pent-up
an acknowledgement that maybe you never cared
you don’t know me, she says again
then storms away
as if she hasn’t sat in that seat for three years
telling me all about her son and his fiancé
her husband and his job woes
how much she loves her god
her family coming over from russia
and building the american dream
her houses and cars
her pets and neighbors
her love of john lennon and brett farve
her prayers
her hopes and her dreams
and all of the holiday traditions that she’s passed down for years
you don’t know me, she said
fuck, i think
i probably know you better than i know myself.  

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