Sighting

There’s a wall. And along that wall, are stalls.

Each stall has a uniquely worded sign, coloured just the right way. Each sign a glowing endorsement for the service they provide.

The amount of space each stall has along the wall varies. Some have more realty in comparison to others. But each is there. Each one serves a separate purpose.

Each one exists.

I go past this wall of stalls most days. And if I were to be asked what was along there, I could recite each one. Probably even proceed to give myself a gold star afterwards for getting it so right.

Except, I would have missed one.

Midway along the wall, squeezed in between two stalls, is a clothing alteration professional. Their stall would be the smallest of all.

It’s not brightly coloured. It has a sign, but upon first sighting blends in with its surroundings, like a shadow of inept.

But it is there. It exists.

I needed to get a pair of trousers hemmed for a friend’s wedding. You could imagine my disbelief when I found out where the nearest alteration business was.

I stopped by the stall, with unhemmed trousers in tow. The owner didn’t sit out the front. The stall had no face.

Instead that face was out the back, working away on each job acquired. Only surfacing for air when someone stopped at the counter. Upon a passing glance from the outside, the stall appeared to have no depth – just a counter.

It wasn’t until looking in I saw it stretched further back into the wall than most other stalls. It even had change rooms and a fully equipped workshop.

I passed my trousers to the owner, and couldn’t help but pass judgment on their inability to be visible.

“Is your store new? I come past here all the time and have never seen you before,” I said.

They looked at me, and half smiled knowingly.

“It is like that old saying,” they said.

“You only see what you are looking for. You only recognise what you know.”

Note: “Sighting” is an article by elite Australian paratriathlete, Nic Beveridge.