You flick your nails against the page, a small purse forming on your lips. It's a natural reaction, one that you barely notice but you feel a slight pressure of your teeth against your lips. You used a purse like a judge uses their gavel. There were three levels to your purse, which signaled the amount of disappointment and discontent you were feeling. The first level was a slight twitch to the lips, like a soundless tut. It meant there was still time for your mind to change. The second level was an upwards movement of the left side of your mouth, giving off a sign of distaste. The third level, the one that was on your lips now, meant there was no hope left. Your gavel had come down and the resonating knock against wood was resounding in the air.
As the invisible ring comes through the air you bite down on your lower lip. Flicking the page harder with your nail you tut, but this time it's one with a sound and not the natural reaction of the criticising purse. You purse your lips at others but you tut at yourself.
The magazine in your hands falls onto your lap and you lean back on the chair; this was why you never read magazines anymore. They told of people and stories; miraculous recoveries, heartbroken lovers, inevitable murderers and ultimately decided who deserved heroic status and who deserved eternal condemnation.
Of course the man on page 8 who drove his car into a lake, killing his child, should spend the rest of his life in gaol. Of course it was an act of malice against his ex-wife and not an accident. Of course he could never be considered a good man again.
It had made your lips purse, as quotes from the despaired wife sat in a thick, bold font on the pages. For a few moments you had hated this man you had only read about, felt malice towards him, and judged the rest of his life as undeserving.
You don't know this man. Perhaps it was an accident, perhaps he loved his child, perhaps he was a good man. You don't him, and you don't know the truth.
You're very good at criticising people; at looking at their clothes or listening to what they say, and thinking how it would've been better if they hadn't showed themselves in public that day. It's easy for you to think that they should be kinder in their speech, or more polite as they bump you in the street. It's easier for you to decide that someone is rude, or opinionated or vulgar. Of course you're none of these things.
Like the tut aimed towards yourself, you know that you shouldn't criticise so freely, that you'll never know the whole story. You tell yourself this, again and again, as again and again you decide people don't deserve any good in their lives. One bad act, whether it was their fault or not, big or small, means they get put into the category of 'deserving of a horrible future'.
Sometimes you look upon those that criticise and think they fall into this category but you never think that you do. Of course you don't because you can recognise when you're judging someone and know that you shouldn't. You're very good at this, at telling yourself you don't know the whole story, that you shouldn't judge. It doesn't mean you criticise any less though.
You're allowed to criticise and purse your lips because in the next moment you'll be tutting at yourself, saying that you shouldn't be doing it. It's alright to criticise as long as you end on a non-judgemental thought. It doesn't mean you believe it though.
You pick up the magazine again, flipping to page 9 where they're featuring a four-page spread on cooking with pumpkin. Who knew a pumpkin cake could be tantalising? Flipping over the pages nonchalantly, you've already forgotten about page 8 and what you think of the man. You've also forgotten that you don't truly know his story.
Soon enough you'll probably find something to purse your lips over, and then tut at yourself afterwards. You'll tell yourself you're allowed to criticise them as long as remember that you don't have any right to pass judgement. It's an easy thing to say, but as you flip over to page 14 and see a woman who cheated on her dying partner, you've already forgotten.