Sitting on my wide wooden reception desk, I'd say, about 150 different people pass me each day. I have three lifts and six doors around my reception where the people I work with pass through. Some glance up, their eyes flicking only slightly so as not to be rude, some stop and lean over the glass panel at the front, and stay for a few minutes to chat, and others just plain walk on by, perhaps pretending im not here, or maybe just too busy to notice.
I'm not hard to miss. I'm slap bang in the middle of the reception area - my desk wider than my arms can stretch, and I'm lit up with hundreds of different kinds of lights, large beamers, little spotlights, and wall mounted atmospherics - all artificial.
Literally, you couldn't miss me.
I've been here in this job now nearly a year. I know the people who I should smile at, or say 'good morning!' to, those who always have the latest bit of office gossip, and I can spot the few who love to stand a little longer over my desk than they should do- for one reason or another.
Sometimes I play little games, which is probably a little bit mean, because I smile like a maniac to the ones who look grumpy, and announce 'good morning' with a little too much enthusiasm and always in a slightly operatic manner, to those who ignore me - just so they have to notice I'm there. It's just good manners, afterall.
But if you haven't got nearly a year to get to know someone's weird and wonderful ways, then it's often really hard to know how interact with them. I sit at my reception desk and out of the corner of my eye, I see the lift doors open - sliding slowly - and I can see a peek of a suit, a shoe, or hear a tinkling laugh before that person steps forward into the lights, and I realise that I've never seen them before. Their face is new to me, their expression (mostly fixed into an expectant look towards me and my reception desk) is often unreadable except to say that they might be needing my attention in a couple of seconds. I've found that people just don't walk around with their thoughts and personalities written all across their faces. Instead, they can be hidden behind smiles, wrapped around words, or lost under glazed, work-tired eyes.
There's this thing I've been able to do, ever since I was young. It's a useful ability, and in my people-watching reception, has proved monumentally helpful. I can honestly, no kidding, sense people. That's not using my sight, my hearing, or even (thank goodness) my sense of smell. To put it more specifically - whilst risking sounding like the gigantic hippy I am and nearly always try to avoid to be - I sense their energy; their aura.
When I was younger, I didn't know what an aura was. I thought it was pretty normal to just know how people were feeling as I clapped my eyes upon them. I got this niggling instinct in the pit of my stomach, that wiggled it's way up until I paid it some attention. Almost always I was right.
There are hundreds of books out there on auras. There are the airy-fairy ones, the rather technical ones and the ones with the photographs to prove them (Kirlian photography - if you're interested). But to put it very simply; an aura is an energy field which radiates all around you. It's your personal energy, made up of essentially you. Even, I guess, right down to whether you liked that expensive dinner last night, how you hated peas when you were six-years-old and those high flying dreams of what you want to be 'when you grow up'. I have come to realise, that these auras are made up of all the things you just don't go around shouting about in everyday life - especially at work - but are extremely important in making up exactly who you are, nonetheless.
I think I got this extra-sensory ability from my Mum. She can suss out a person with one small glance. I remember how I'd bring around my shiny new best friend after school. We'd sit and chat, eating our sausages, chips and baked beans in the kitchen, before racing up to my bedroom and talking about the latest boy we fancied in our class. Later on, after she'd gone home, I'd come down to the kitchen in my pyjamas and ask Mum proudly what she thought of my 'new best friend'.
She'd narrow her eyes and tilt her head to the side, as if working out the best way to put it across.
"A nice girl." She'd say, squinting a bit. "'Though, if I was you, I'd be careful she doesn't pinch your boyfriend." Well, I'd stand there arguing with her until my face went blue, thinking of a hundred different reasons why my new best friend could never, ever stab me in the back or run off with the boy I fancied. And without fail, within a couple of weeks, she would.
Relating to people in everyday life seems make a lot more sense when you know about auras. You begin to understand those people who after just five minutes of talking with them, are able to make you feel as if you need a seriously stiff drink and a lie down. You then begin to really appreciate those people who have a warmth around them - an inner beauty that radiates out when they communicate; so much so that you could sit and talk to them all evening, because you just connect.
I'm sure it's why I get so claustrophobic on the underground in London. All those bodies, and their individual auras crammed into that tiny carriage on the District Line into Wimbledon. Just living in London in general, I find myself searching out open areas, standing in the middle of parks, desperately finding my own space to be me whilst living among eight million people. And then, amongst all those millions, you might find one aura you connect with more than any other.
And for me, that aura belongs to Liam. I dont tell him this fact very often. Mainly because he's incredibly skeptical about anything he can't actually, physically see, but also because it's hardly what a guy wants to hear; 'Oooh your aura's lovely...'
But it's true.
He's got this energy about him that I could sit and connect with forever. It's warm, open and safe. When he's scooting across the world on his business trips and I'm left at home with the cat; well, we miss him. I can always talk with him on the phone about my day, so it's probably not our conversation that I miss most. As a self-confessed hermit, I definitely don't miss sharing our tiny little flat; fighting over the remote control, squished up on one half of the bed and getting cross because he's nicked the last of the sour cream dip. No, it isn't one thing in particular. It's his aura I miss. That buzz of energy around him that makes up every single part of him. The bits I dont know, the bits I do - the everything that is essentially him.