Mirv sat down next to Lilah on the park bench. He offered her the ...'coffee' she had asked for, and put the donuts between them in easy reach with an "There you go."
After taking a quick sip, savoring the taste with closed eyes, and sighing, he said "Okay then. So, what can you see? Remember, don't just look at them, you need to look."
Lilah had no idea what he meant by looking and looking. Obviously she could see them. "Uhm, a kid on a scooter, red shirt, blue jeans. Belongs to a mom pushing a stroller?"
Mirv snickered. "Yeah okay, let's try that again. Hm... how do I explain this... When people look at their surroundings, they see... nothing, really. 'cause they're dumb as shit. But just by looking at someone, you get tons of information. That mom? No ring, no jewelery, but lots of makeup. Stroller looks really worn, but she is too young to have more than 3 children if she started early, so probably second-hand. She takes the time to put on make up, so probably looking for a boyfriend or husband. You could say that might be just a coincidence, but look at her body posture: she straightens her back, her head is slightly tilted to the right, she plays too much with her hair, and she smiles all the time. All actions subconsciously done to appear more attractive. My bet: Single-mom, struggling to make ends meet, on the prowl.
What I want to say with that is, try to really see what you look at. Look at the boy. What do you see?"
Lilah looked to the kid studying him for a moment before she said "he's wearing clean clothes that have been washed a bunch of times. He looks genuinely happy and healthy. Clean. Not a care in the world.. " Lilah looked to Mirv, better?
Mirv nodded, smiling. "Good! Now go on: What does the fact he has clean clothes that have been washed a bunch of times tell you about him? Or about his mom?" he encouraged her.
"They aren't rich but his mom takes care of him even if they don't have much?"
Mirv smiled. "Good, that is one way to see it. Certainly the nicer way. There is also another possibility. A lot darker, though. Let's see if you can figure that out, too. Assumption: His mom does NOT care about him. Why would she take care of him like this?"
"Uh... " Lilah blinked as she looked to the kid "I d-don't know. If you didn't care about your kid wouldn't you want them to be taken by children's aid?"
"Good. Why would you care about that? What's so bad about children's aid taking your child away if you don't really care about it?"
Lilah shrugged "money? "
"Possible, but people who care about the money and not the child don't put in the work, usually. What's another motivator for people to do or not do things? A really strong one. One of the strongest out there"
Lilah was beginning to look pissed off "I don't like this game and it's a wonder if you have to think of every negative thing that a person could be doing you pace while you think all of this out. " Lilah stood her hands on her hips and her face growing redder by the second
Mirv shook his head. "Not a game. This was my bread and butter, Lilah. Look at people, try to get into their heads, into their lifes, find the dirty laundry and the skeletons in the closet. Most of the time, there was a lot there. And at some point, you stop trying to see, but you don't."
He smiled sadly. "Liam, P.I. Welcome to my Life."
"Why, Liam? Why would she do that? Look at that kid." It was more about the kid than about the training as she stared at Mirv every emotion passing over her face.
"This one doesn't. But some others did. For Status. 'What would the neighbours say?' and all that shit. For some reason, way too many people really care a lot about what people they don't know think of them, and very little of what those close to them do."
"Status? Really? That's insane.""It is." Lilah sat down and looked around the park. She studied a group of teenagers "peer pressure. That one doesn't want to do whatever it is they are talking about. Shoulders slumped, head down, eyes staring at the ground "
Mirv's face lit up. "Very good! So, look at his face. Why does he not want to do it? Fear, or disgust?"
"Uh..... disgust. Fear would be like more drawn back, right ?"
"Yes! Also, disgust shows more on the lips, fear more around the eyes and upper nose." Mirv gesticulated at his face when explaining, mimicing the expression a bit.
He looked to the sky, smile on his face. "So, this is what it means to really see. To take in details. But that's just one part of many. Want to keep going, or try something else?"
"Teach me what you know, Mirv. Mad means I care. " Lilah shrugged "one day I want to know what you see in me. My skeletons"
Mirv didn't respond to that due not quite knowing how, instead drinking some coffee and eating a bit of his donut. He looked straight ahead, finally shrugged and said "Someday. You'll get to see mine, then."
He waited for the mother and the child to have gone out of sight, and then said "So, an eye for details is one thing. An important thing. Gathering little clues, grouping them up, connecting the dots... big part of being any kind of investigator.
However, time is of the essence. Often, you won't have much time to prod and look around. Sometimes, you will have to re-evaluate what you have already seen.
So....I told you that woman did not take care of her son for the money or for status. Recall their appearance, their mimic, their gestures, their postures, their movements... what might be the reason I think she genuinely loved her child? Replay them walking by in your mind, like an old tape or a DVD, if you like."
Lilah relaxed and picked up a donut. She focused on the kid and on the mother that she could only see in her head. Biting her lip for a moment before she put the donut on her finger as though it were a ring "When he almost fell, she winced and moved even though if he had fallen she wouldn't have been able to catch him. The way she reached for his hand when they got closer to the gate of the park."
Mirv looked surprised. "Huh, must've missed that when watching you watch them. Very good point! I based it entirely on her small moments of pride when she looked at him. It's a kind of smile that is basically impossible to pull off on purpose without a lot of skill. Your point is better, though."
"I have been focusing on body language. Which I am figuring out quickly I am much more in tune with than fine details. It's almost like.. feeling the energy of a person.."
Mirv smiled. "Starting with something familiar to you, something close to you is always good. That way, you have a foundation on which you can build. It's also way more fun, but obviously, that's totally beyond the point" he said with a growing grin. "So, tell me about someone's body language. Your pick."
Lilah scanned the area as she took a bite of her donut "3 o'clock the couple on the bench. He is turned into her, open, arm stretched across the back of the bench. Where she is closed off. Left leg over right but more than that" she took another bite of the donut "her hips are turned away. Like she can't get out of there fast enough.."
Mirv looked. His face slightly froze, then he smiled and said "Excuse me a second!"
Mirvalad took his coffee and went over to the couple, going past the bench, then 'lost his balance' and poured some of his hot coffee - right next to the guy. He made an apologetic face, went all "Oh, so sorry, I tripped there, my bad..." after making sure no one was hurt, and turned back.
When he sat down next to Lilah he said "Man, what a waste....So, what happened?" while looking slightly disappointed into his coffee cup.
Lilah watched in genuine shock as the event unfolded. When he came back she was still shocked but she shook her head "he looked pissed then as he realized you were falling he moved to keep her from getting any coffee on her, she leaned away from you falling into them. Though she did wrap her arms around him as you were walking away."
"Poor guy. Genuinely nice though, from the sounds of it. Who knows, might have helped a couple stay together with this. What do we learn from this, though?"
"True emotions come out under distress."
"That's a good lesson! What else, considering what the first impression was?"
"They truly care for one another. Must just be fighting..? Or .. always more than meets the eye.. or maybe you should tell me what I am missing.." Lilah nudged Mirv with a grin.
Mirv grinned and bit into another Donut and pointed his indexfinger upwards. "Always get more data! Body language, facial expression etc. can only get us so far, give us an impression of their feelings at the moment, but when it comes to hazarding a guess as to WHY they feel like that, you need something else to fall back on: scientific studies, like why do men run their fingers through their hair in some situations, or personal experience, like I know that person for a long time and this is unusual/usual behaviour, and so on. In short, this isn't a very exact science, so try not to overextend. We're not Mentalists - well, at least not like Patrick Jane" he ended with a wink and finished the donut.
Lilah grinned and nodded "one day I'll be pretty damn close, Mirv." Mirv looked serious, solemn even. "One day you will." Tiff ate the rest of her donut before wiping the sugar on the thigh of her jeans "Don't worry. I'll give you all the credit for my skills on detail.I will have to remember that though. Emotions are fleeting. Though the hair thing, I would say Buddy is nervous or anxious or lying"
He downed the rest of his coffee and threw it in the trash. Of course he missed and had to get up to put it in properly. "Stressed, actually, which kinda encompasses nervous and anxious and lying, to be fair. Apparently, doing this" he ran his fingers through his hair "is slightly relaxing, which is why you see a lot of boys do it on their first dates."
"Probably why Salem likes me to play with his hair, honestly." Lilah shrugged and then stood collecting the donuts. "That sounds more like bonding through taking physical care of each other, echoing back to our ape ancestors searching each other's fur for fleas and similar parasites" Mirv grinned.
Taking the romance out of an activity? You found the right man! "Shall we take a walk, see what trouble we can find?" "Sure! You could tell me a little bit about your view on Fate and the nature of Truth on the way, at least until we'll find trouble. Don't worry, I'm sure something will turn up" he finished with a grin and dusted some powdered sugar from his bandshirt.