Friday, May 9, 2014
Fiction: Man On the Bench
There was a man on a bench minding his own business as he carried a tune. I couldn't recognize it, but I could recognize that I enjoyed it. There were many reasons to hum that day. He held a smile as we made eye-contact, and I noticed the way his face wrinkled. He seemed to have held with him many lifetimes and reasons to smile and hum. I wondered what that must be like. While many my age still carry with us the ability to remember when we were just barely speaking, he could recall who he was when he was my age.
"Good afternoon," I said.
"Good afternoon," he replied.
The road was crooked and led up the mountain, far out of sight. I sat beside him to see what he was waiting for. Perhaps I would find out in time.
"Lovely weather," he said, continuing to hum.
"It is," I said. "You seem to be enjoying it well enough."
"I do what I can."
I do what I can. What could that mean? Was he holding onto a false sense of happiness--the kind that withers away the moment a cloud appears?
"Are you waiting on someone?" I asked.
"Not particularly," he said with a smile. "Just waiting."
"Waiting for the rain."
"But you don't have an umbrella."
"Don't need one." He stopped humming.
Rain interrupts the sunshine the same way that night interrupts the day, yet tomorrow feels like such an awful long time. We move forward, we experience, we observe. Yet sometimes time passes even slower as if we hadn't at all. That second hand ticks by, and you can feel each tick beat in your chest--taunting you, reminding you of how you're spending your day.
The man stood up off of the bench and began walking home, I assume, far from me. He turned around and nodded to me politely before heading west. He was getting soaked as the drizzling quickly turned into a downpour. I stayed on that bench, wondering if I could wait it out. Under the shade of the trees I was fine for now. If that man could enjoy the bright day, quietly, while it lasted, I could handle a little a rain.