From a one minute conversation with a stranger, just how much can you tell from his/her words? In contrast, from a ten year friendship with your best mate, just how much can you tell from his/her words?

Recently I re-watched a classic anime movie on time traveling, about a girl who leapt through time. It was then I noticed time and time again, the fake camera in the movie would stop moving; it just paused.

And as the main character walked out of it, out of the camera frame, it felt like the time stopped.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

I was seeing a portray of suspense out of just a normal conversation between high school teenagers.

H.P. Lovecraft once mentioned, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”

Not being able to see the character on screen, not being able to hear or know what they are thinking is scary.

It’s all the more dreadful if we have invested time in getting to know them.

The unknown is scary, yet worth discovering.

It is a technique used in cinematography through framing that I had long forgotten. Because what’s ingenious about this method is that it evokes such thought: that the character wasn’t just what we see on the outside. They weren’t just what we know, from the frame. This eliminates the need of backstory, and inner monologues that were straight dumped onto us.

No, what it captures was more primal, more basic than that—it was just actions, and emotions.

They walk out of the frame, and you hear cries: you know they are more than just sad, they are heartbroken. When they exit and re-entered the frame a few seconds later, you know they just haven’t given up yet; they couldn’t.

It is because of such technique that it adds another layer to the storytelling: the words unspoken.

There exist such a thing as body language that we applies daily on others without us realizing it, and it’s crucial in social settings that it protects us by reading into others’ intention, and establishing our own. But that’s all there is to it. The outside.

We don’t know for exact why we did what we did, or what they were actually feeling. They could be looping what to say in their mind and the next word of choice to reply, or they could be drifting off to wondering if they have properly locked the talking doll down their basement.

They could be overwhelmed by all the talks, they could be occupied with drafting the email they need to send tonight, they could be wondering if they should talk to the man/woman who stood alone in the corner pretending to check messages on their phone, they could be worrying about the big presentation tomorrow in other states, they could be anticipating the World Cup later tonight.

Because ultimately, out of frame in movies is what we referred as not being shown on the camera and things that we weren’t able to see. But in reality, out of frame simply refers to everyone else but us.

Things that we don’t know of scare us, but as we grow to familiarize these, we begin to understand and eventually empathize. Because even with 10 years relationships, sometimes we could never fully understand others.

But that’s the thing—we don’t need to.

Just as there could be millions of topics or scenarios for us, it is the same for them. For anyone.

We could never predict what’s out of frame.

But what matters the most is how we feel, how we depict the situation in the moment, how our bond is nurtured in the relationship along with how we read it as a story in our world.

And that’s the most simple, direct reaction there is.

That’s the most gentle and softest way to deal with feelings, stories.

Only by willing to spend time being in the frame, could we understand what’s beyond the frame.

And only then we can reciprocate their unspoken thoughts, and feelings.

Even if they are…

Thanks for reading.

I’ll see you all next year!