the wasted morningpublished: 2013-07-10
You could say it’s been a wasted morning. Too much to do, too little done. A run in the park which wasn’t a run but a walk. Cutting corners and deciding that you should no longer smoke. And yet, you are smoking now.
When have you last gone for a walk? And noticed the raspberry blonde woman on rollerblades. She passes you four times, from various directions. She is big and clunky. Tall and chunky. Her hair is bobbed, her face broad and freckled. She wears a tight lycra aubergine dress that reveals every fold in her body. And yet she glides. She flies. Etches the skies.*
When did you last listen to the sounds of the park? Which is what the man you have a chat with says that morning. You see him where you often see him. At the corner coffee shop. There’s something missing and when you ask how he is this morning, he says “I’m fine,” while gently lifting and then heavily dropping his shoulders. You glance under the table and know he’s not. He’s not fine at all. Because where is his dog? Dead, he says. He has strapped her collar to his belt. He sits where he always sits but without her. Drinks what he always drinks.
“I walked the route I always walked with her today.”
You point at his headphones around his neck, they are decorated with stickers of cats and pink hearts.
“Listening to music while doing so?” you ask.
No, he listened to the sounds of the park. He shows you a picture of her in her final hour. She looks at the camera with all the love in the world for him.
And after you stay a little while longer, and longer still, so he can speak of her, another man enters the coffee shop. A familiar face, a neighborhood friend.
When this friend leaves you ask him to wait up, you’ll walk with him. Rather, he’ll walk with you as where he lives is on a different block than yours.
And so he says, “I’ll walk you home.”
He is carrying a paper bag which holds two cappuccinos. Usually, you’d worry about the cappuccinos and them getting cold. You’d tell him to not bother. Why would someone go the extra mile for you? But this morning you accept his gesture. Things are different today, is what you think. And you walk and talk and speak of his past troubles and yours. Of how grateful he now is. After the hell he’s gone through, a dark pit in which rock bottom doesn’t exist. Of what he’s learned. And of what you’ve learned. How you can hate people for pushing you over the line. But you now both find yourselves thankful for what they’ve done to you because it made you face your demons.
So this was the morning. You could say it’s been a wasted one.
*Hemingway wrote in The Old Man and the Sea: “…and saw a flock of wild ducks etching themselves against the sky over the water…”