This word is a bit different. It’s not a “real word” (a topic worthy of its own blog post)—it was created by The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, a blog of invented words by John Koenig. Like any word, It’s begun to take on a life of its own; it’s been added to UrbanDictionary and passed around other internet sources as a “real word,” lending it some legitimacy. As The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows aims to create words for feelings we feel but don’t have words for, and, because a word is nothing but a string of arbitrary letters with meaning attached (you can read more about what a “real word” is in relation to “sonder” here), it has arguably succeeded.
But anyway, a drabble.
the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.
Her friends do exciting things. One is a lawyer, one is a poet, one is a filmmaker. Two are married, one has kids, and she has a cup of coffee and a newspaper. Two people kiss at the coffeeshop, love in their eyes like each time they see each other is the first time. A woman has an argument on her cell phone, saying she’ll never return, never go back to that place. A baby tastes frosting for the first time. Outside the window, one car rear-ends another, while she sits alone, watching, waiting for her story to begin.