No, you don’t.
If you only ever saw my photograph, you would know that I’m pretty, but you wouldn’t know just how unselfconscious I am in real life. You wouldn’t know how I like to immerse myself in the day, thinking mostly about what’s going on around me. You would think I am still, when in real life, I am moving.
If you saw me walking down the street, you’d notice my hair, my dark sunglasses, my smile. You’d feel the happiness in my quick steps, my bounciness. But you’d miss my green eyes, and you’d never know my thoughts, my voice.
If you saw me sitting alone at a table by the coffee shop, you’d know that I drink coffee, but you wouldn’t know that I need more caffeine now to feel normal. You wouldn’t know that I wish I didn’t. You’d see me typing on my laptop, but you’d have no idea what I was writing, whether it was about you.
If you saw me walking with my kids, you might think that I’m only a mom. You might never realize how interesting I am on my own. You would never suspect how much more complicated I could be.
If you only ever talked to me on the phone, you’d know my voice, but you’d miss my face. You wouldn’t see how intently I’d watch you as you talked. You would miss seeing me lean in towards you as I answered your questions.
If you only ever read my words, you’d have my thoughts but you’d miss hearing the inflection in my voice as I spoke to you, telling you my desires. You’d miss seeing me push my hair out of my face, lick my lips, rest my hands on my shoulders, elbows on the table while I smiled at you.
If you were with me, you would see me. You’d smile and maybe put a hand on my back while we talked. You’d smell my perfume, sit close enough to notice my eye shadow. You’d hear me talk, laugh. You could ask me questions, and we could have a conversation with its own rhythm and meter. But my thoughts might be elsewhere and you wouldn’t even know.
Do you know me?
No, you don’t.
I think I’m unknowable.